Thank you to all those who voted on the 3rd May and especially to everyone who voted for me.
A special thank you to my election agent and everyone who helped me during the campaign.
I look forward to serving as a SNP councillor for the Banff & District Ward, Aberdeenshire Council, and continuing to look after not only those living and working in the Ward but throughout Aberdeenshire for the next term of office.
I am the Economic Spokesperson for the SNP Group and Chairman of the Banff & Buchan Area Committee.
Aberdeenshire Council, since its formation 15 years ago, had been run and administered under a joint administration of Liberal Democrat and Conservative councillors. Following the election the SNP achieved the highest support returning 28 councillors, twice as many as the next highest group. The Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Independents and Labour groups have formed an alliance to control the council.
The surprise windfall of £20m, announced just after the election, helped the process of setting up the new alliance. This surprise windfall was produced by cuts in staffing, changes to conditions and delays in delivering services and capital investment agreed in the previous administration's budget. Following years of cuts in services and lobbying for an increase share of finance from the Scottish Government many people in Aberdeenshire are dismayed and angry having accepted the need for change but only to discover the council has surplus financial resources.
Irrespective of your politics I am sure you will agree there has been very little support for this area from Conservatives, Labour or Liberal Democrats at national level. We have endured the demise of the fishing industry and lost out to many developments that have brought prosperity to other areas of Aberdeenshire.
Looking forward we are fortunate to have a number of international renowned businesses based in the area as well as some of the best farmed products and seafood. This gives the area a great platform to grow and sustain local jobs. But to achieve this, other facilities and services need to be provided to meet the needs of all.
A Summary of my personal aims;
- A local enterprise strategy to regenerate Banff, Aberchirder and Portsoy centres.
- Rural community officer to assist the villages of Whitehills, Fordyce and Cornhill and surrounding communities of Alvah and Forglen
- Unemployment black spots and communities at risk projects.
- Regional economic policies to generate community prosperity and jobs
- Investment in education facilities, enabling high achievement and opportunity for all.
- Increase provision of nursery and childcare facilities and resources
- Equity provision of local public services including sports and leisure facilities housing, social & health facilities, roads and public transport
- Capital intervention for the rural tourism accommodation sector
Over the 20 years I believe I have demonstrated I have achieved a number of successes working in partnership with various groups and individuals.
Projects I have either campaigned for, supported or are my next list of priorities
- New Primary School
- Redevelopment Banff Chalmers Hospital
- Banff Marina
- Banffshire Coast Tourism Partnership
- Redevelopment Macduff Slipway
- Banff Castle Redevelopment
- Historic Banffshire
- Aberdeen Bypass (held up by unnecessary minority opposition)
- Princess Royal Sports Trust new Better Life Centre. This is being held up by legal matters but the council has committed to deliver) If re-elected I will seek the support from SNP colleagues if we are in administration to commit for the project to begin without delay.
- Phase 2 Banff Town Centre Heritage Initiative
- Aberchirder Town Square building renovation initiative
- Aberchirder indoor Sports and Leisure Centre
- Cornhill Facelift fund
- Phase 2 Portsoy CARS initiative
- Low cost business units
- Initiatives to provide additional housing for those who have been waiting endlessly for social housing.
- Campbell Hospital site development
- Portsoy Library and town centre regeneration
- Investment in rural primary schools
- Banff Academy upgrade with new education, sports and amenity facilities
- Upgrading A947
- Tourism Accommodation
- Banff Airfield Trust Project
- Two New MAJOR Tourism Projects. Details to follow
- Review of wind turbine planning policies
- Former chicken factory site Banff redeveloped
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