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Council Election 2017: Montrose and District (Ward 8)

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The only Liberal Democrat councillor, David May, has decided to not stand for re-election.

Meanwhile the SNP deputy leader Paul Valentine wasn’t selected as a candidate by the party’s Montrose and District branch and will be replaced on the ballot by Gill Stranock.

Councillors Bill Duff (SNP) and Mark Salmond (Independent) are seeking re-election.

The other candidates are Pamela Ruddy (Labour), Avril Simpson (Liberal Democrats), Thomas Stewart (Independent) and Ron Sturrock (Conservatives).

The erosion of the sand dunes at Montrose continue to be a big issue in the town, with critics of the council claiming that not enough has been done to protect the town’s golf course from the North Sea.

It has been estimated that the sea has crept 70 metres towards the town in the last 30 years which has resulted in the layout of some of the holes of the links course – the fifth oldest in the world – to be changed.

Angus councillors gave the green light to a 50-hectare business park development in Charleton Road, but the oil industry downturn has hit the town hard – most recently with the news that Texas-based National Oilwell Varco plans to shed around half its town workforce.

Work is also under way in creating a spine road in the town that will improve access to the port, the GlaxoSmithKline plant and the wider port area in a bid to make the area more attractive to investors.

Last year the Scottish Government unveiled plans to upgrade the one and a half mile section of the railway line between Usan and the South Esk that is currently a single track to improve train frequency and running times.


Candidate profiles

The Courier invited each candidate to submit a short introduction to themselves and, if they wished, a video explaining why they deserve your vote.


Bill Duff (SNP)

I have very much enjoyed being a councillor since elected in 2012.

Every week is different, bringing new challenges and problems to solve for my constituents in Montrose and District.

In that time, I have supported a wide variety of local organisations that do vital work in our community making Montrose a better place to live in.

The SNP-run council has made progress in improving the way the council works and doing more with less resources.

A variety of efficiency measures has ensured that reduced public money has been spent on front line services.

The next five years will be challenging and I believe we need a coherent group of dedicated hard-working SNP councillors to ensure continuing progress as a county and working collaboratively with the Scottish Government.

My personal priorities are economic development, infrastructure improvement and education.

The Tay Cities deal will afford exciting opportunities for Angus.


Pamela Ruddy (Labour)

This election isn’t about the constitution. It is our chance to focus on the local community and the services we rely upon.

I love living in Montrose – it is a great place to raise a family.

However, since I moved here nine years ago I’ve seen our local services cut, under threat, stretched thin and made less local – mental health services, maternity services and the GP ward at Montrose Infirmary, community alarm, loss of wardens in sheltered housing, reduction in library hours, threats to local play parks, schools understaffed and the school uniform grant abolished.

I want to do my bit to protect the services we have and support our community in future.

If you share my concerns about the loss of services in Montrose, please give me your first preference on May 4 and I will take that message to the council chamber.


Mark Salmond (independent)

As an independent councillor representing Montrose for 14 years, I’ve gained valuable experience and knowledge to resolve your issues.

Party politics get in the way of common sense. I’ve proved you don’t need to be in a political party to get things done.

The loudest voice is not always heard. My voice and views are heard and listened to in Angus Council and I have a track record of delivering on my promises.

I don’t easily accept the answer no or ‘it can’t be done’. Knowing who to ask and with persuasion, it usually can be done.

Montrose beach coastal erosion, new primary schools and retention of Montrose Infirmary are my priorities for Montrose moving forward.

Montrose’s future is bright. Keep politics out of Angus to allow Montrose to prosper. I will always put Montrose first.


Avril Simpson (Lib Dem)

I was born and brought up in Hillside, Montrose.

After training and work experience in Edinburgh and the Borders, I came back to teach at Montrose Academy for 20 years.

I am now retired but I still take a great interest in education in general and with the loss of my subject, home economics, in some schools no wonder there is a problem with obesity. School discipline is a great concern.

I am involved with voluntary work with Angus Carers Centre, Caring For the Elderly and our local medical practice.

I am concerned with fundraising for MS Trust and Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.

At present I am a member of the community council in Forfar where we have discussed at length the problems of the closures of certain recycling centres.

The crossing to Laurencekirk from the Montrose/Marykirk road has at last been approved but when is the great problem.

The closure of the Mulberry unit at Stracathro and Frank’s Law are another two issues which cause me concern.


Tommy Stewart (independent)

I am Montrose born and bred and live in the town with my wife Marion.

I have always had a keen interest in local issues and I have always been of the belief that politics has no place in local government.

Those elected should have the interests of the town at the forefront of their mind along with a ‘hands on’ approach.

I am chairman of the local charity Santa Claus in Montrose, raising money which we donate back into the community supporting local causes, and I’m probably better known to most in my role as Santa Claus.

Montrose and Angus as a whole has suffered over the last five years, from reductions in services to anti social issues.

If elected to serve, I will work hard for Montrose, as an active and approachable councillor with a strong voice, working to the best of my ability for the town.


Gill Stranock (SNP)

My working career began with the NHS at the age of 17. After having children I returned to nursing and qualified as a registered nurse in 2002, gaining a BSc in accident and emergency nursing.

As well as working in the NHS, I became a local businesswoman, owning and managing a post office.

I am involved with charity and voluntary organisations and an active member of Hillside Dun and Logie Pert Community Council.

Within this role I have led campaigns for new road structures, school crossing safety and traffic control.

I learned the importance of listening to the views and concerns of others and how to help achieve change.

A strong voice, determination and drive is needed.

I would like to be that strong voice, helping to make that change for the whole community.

I am absolutely passionate about serving the community for the better.


Ron Sturrock (Conservative)

I am retired from oil major management, effective and successful team leader operating in the international arena.

I have been a Ferryden resident for over 40 years and a member of the Ferryden and Craig Community Council.

My principal objectives are:

Economic development support: e.g. Montrose Port Authority plans.

Education: promote the highest quality provision and outcomes coupled with closing the attainment gap.

Infrastructure improvements: e.g. a new road between Montrose and the A90.

Pensioners: increased numbers projected, plan for expected added pressure on health, housing and social care services.

Vehicle speed reduction: review and propose measures in collaboration with the police and local community.

Disability: having a disability myself, I’ll be pro-active in continuing to break down social and workplace barriers.

Local campaigning: e.g. town centre improvements, local health issues, golf links erosion.

Modernising council structures to provide cost effective and efficient service provision.

Collaborate across party lines in support of ideas beneficial to Montrose and Angus.