New era beckons for Buchan politics after local elections

IT’S the beginning of a new era for Buchan politics as Aberdeenshire Council’s new line-up was unveiled on Friday.

The electorate went to the polls on Thursday, with high hopes that their vote would help get their chosen representatives onto the council to make positive changes to Peterhead and Buchan as a whole.

The SNP were celebrating on Friday, after adding an extra seat to its formerly five-strong cohort.

Both SNP councillors for Peterhead South and Cruden, Stuart Pratt and Stephen Smith, were re-elected, with 18.6% and 34% of the vote respectively.

Stuart Pratt said: “Obviously I’m very pleased to have been elected once again and thank all those who voted for me last Thursday.”

“The SNP has been in opposition since Aberdeenshire Council came into being in 1995. We are now the largest party in Aberdeenshire and I hope that we can find like-minded councillors to work together with to implement our manifesto to improve our local communities.”

Councillor Stephen Smith added: “I would like to thank all those who voted SNP in Peterhead South and Cruden.

It was just not possible to get around every door in a ward with 9,000 of a population but we ran a good campaign and I think put our record and our aspirations before the voters, who made up their minds accordingly.”

“I’ll do my best for the local community over the next five-year term, as I hope I’ve done during the previous five years.”

Peterhead North and Rattray’s Anne Allan and Fiona McRae will also return for another five-year term.

Fiona McRae said: “After a well organised and good team effort we were successful in returning our SNP representation in Ward 5. I look forward to another term in office, and to working with constituents in the ward and I’m grateful for their support.”

Councillor Anne Allan also thanked her constituents for voting for her. She said: “I’m delighted to have been returned again to represent Peterhead North & Rattray. I am very grateful to all those who supported the SNP and I am looking forward to the challenge of a new term in office, and working again with all strands of the community to take the area forward.”

New to the SNP line-up for Central Buchan - joining Independent councillor Norman Smith - are Jim Ingram and Lenny Pirie, who replace Sandy Stronach following his retirement.

Conservative Edie Chapman completes the Central Buchan line-up.

Norman Smith said: “I am pleased to be elected again with such a high majority. I will continue to do what I can for the community and attend as many community council meetings as I can.

“My door is always open to anyone who has an issue. I just want to say a thank you to everyone who helped and supported me throughout the campaign and for all their hard work.”

Councillor Ingram, who formerly sat on Aberdeenshire Council some 25 years ago, said: “When I got up on the platform at AECC, it really hit me that people have put their trust in me. Now’s it up to me to prove that I deserve that trust. I’ve always been interested in what is happening in the community and would like to thank all my constituents who voted for me.”

Similarly, Councillor Pirie thanked voters and said he looked forward to getting to work.

He said: “I’d also like to thank all the voters. I’ve been made aware of some of the concerns of the people while door-knocking throughout the campaign. I will do my best to assist with these concerns.”

Meanwhile, Independent candidates fared well, with Peterhead North and Rattray’s Alan Buchan back for another five-year term with 16.5% of the overall vote.

Councillor Buchan is joined by Alan Gardiner, who took 19.6% of the vote in Peterhead North and Rattray.

Councillor Gardiner said that he was delighted to be elected and felt that his campaign was fairly fought.

He said: “With regard to those who have been elected, and following the brief chats I have had with them, I think that we can work together with the same aim of seeing the changes and improvements that we would all like to see happen for the benefit of our community.”

“I’m pleased to have been voted in and I am really appreciative of all those who made the effort and came out and voted for me,”

Also new this term is Tom Malone for Peterhead South and Cruden, who scooped 13% of the electorate’s preference.

But leaving the Buchan Area Committee is Independent stalwart Sam Coull who had represented the Peterhead area in some form since 1977.

The first meeting of the Buchan Area Committee is due to take place on May 29 at Peterhead’s Arbuthnot House.