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Council Election 2017: Glenrothes North, Leslie and Markinch (Ward 14)

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Stretching from the Lomond Hills in the west to Milton of Balgonie in the east, Ward 14 is one of the most diverse in Fife, incorporating small towns, large rural areas, as well as some of Glenrothes’ biggest residential estates.

Snaking its way through the heart of this is the A92, with a prominent community campaign calling for Transport Scotland to improve safety at the notorious Balfarg junction.

The ward is also home to Glenrothes Hospital and its crucial out-of-hours service, which was preserved following a cross-party political and community campaign in 2013.

While there remains no current threat to the service, voters will want to know which candidates are willing to stand up and be counted should the axe loom once again.

The management of woodland at Formonthills has also proven controversial in recent years, with homeowners calling on Fife Council to strong-arm third parties into maintaining trees overhanging their properties.

Roads maintenance, and in particular gritting in wintertime given the area’s proximity to the Lomonds, will also be an issue on which voters will quiz prospective councillors.

Results here will also be closely watched by those in neighbouring Ward 13, where Newcastle residents recently fended off plans for a major housing development at Milldeans.

There has been one change to the line-up of councillors since 2012, with Labour’s John Wincott taking over from party colleague Bill Kay, who passed away in 2013.


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.


John Beare (SNP)

Mr Beare was first elected to Fife Council in a 2006 by-election.

He has served as chair of the council’s planning committee from 2007-12 and is currently chair of the standards and audit committee.

He spent 30 years working in the commercial construction sector, specialising in mechanical and electrical installations.

Since 2015 he has been office manager for Peter Grant MP, having had a similar role with former MSP Tricia Marwick from 2003 -07.

His priorities are pursuing improvements for the A92, reversing Labours’ £3 million education cut, providing appropriate housing, improving local open spaces and supporting local business.


Jamie Donaldson (No Referendum, Maintain Union, Pro-Brexit)

Mr Donaldson said: “I am 35 years old and grew up in Cadham, attending both Pitcoudie Primary and Glenrothes High schools.

“I have a degree in naval architecture from Glasgow University and I worked in the Aberdeen oil and gas industry for almost ten years before I lost my job in the oil price crash.

“I see this as an opportunity, however, and now devote my time and energy to the defence of Great Britain and Northern Ireland with a core belief that one of the great strengths of Unionism is its inherent partnership of political differences for the greater good of everyone.”


Fiona Grant (SNP)

Mrs Grant has been a councillor for 25 years and has been chair of the Glenrothes area committee twice.

Her specific aspirations for the next five years range from achieving Fairwage status for the area to an area-wide park and open space review focusing on  improvements to paths, roads and local woodlands.

Glenrothes’ 70th anniversary in 2018 provides a focus for highlighting events across the town, involving the whole community.

She was born in Glenrothes, is a GP at Leslie Medical Practice and has been a member of Leslie Bowling Club for over 20 years.


Michael Green (Conservative)

Mr Green moved to Glenrothes in 1964 and is a former pupil of Auchmuty High School.

Leaving the town for an 11-year career in the army, he left the military in 1977 to join the Scottish Prison Service, where he worked for 20 years.

Explaining his reasons for standing, he said: “I feel we have a great town here, but we all need to work together.

“The local community councils working with the Conservative Party could make a great difference.

“I have been shouting for a bus stop at Tofthill Estate, and also for one north of Balfarg junction.”


Kate Legg (Lib Dem)

I am standing in this election as a Liberal Democrat as I wish to join a group of Liberal Democrat councillors on Fife Council who work hard for their own local communities.

“They keep in touch regularly with residents, informing them of what is going on in their communities and responding to their concerns and problems be they dog fouling, road repairs or social care.

“I have lived in Fife for many years and my two sons were brought up and educated here.

“As a retired teacher, my main interest is education and ensuring that Fife youngsters at all levels from nursery to secondary can benefit from a stable system that encourages achievement in all aspects of the curriculum while responding to the individual needs of our children.”


Kyle Mackie (independent)

Mr Mackie did not respond to The Courier’s invitation for comment.


Lorna Ross (Green)

Lorna Ross said: “I have been an active supporter and member of the Scottish Green Party for decades, and at last we can see the Greens bringing progressive change to councils around Scotland.

“Our time has come. I have been involved in numerous community projects over the years, from improving access to local woodland, to ‘Free Food’, setting up allotments and helping out with donations for refugees.

“I am passionate about Scottish independence. As a councillor, I pledge to fight austerity measures, and believe that foodbanks are an abomination in our society.

“As a councillor, I will promise only what I can deliver.”


Jan Wincott (Labour)

Jan Wincott said: “I have lived in Leslie with my husband and son for more than 25 years.

“I have always been a working mum, returning to work when my son was just three months old, so I know very well the pressures of juggling a job and childcare.

“I have been a member of Leslie Community Council since 2011, and its chair since 2013.

“I am passionate about local communities having a voice that’s heard, and if elected, I will act as your strong voice on issues that concern you locally.

“I volunteer at a local foodbank, and have seen first hand the destruction that zero hours contracts, benefit delays and sanctions have had on local people.

“If elected I will continue to fight for those people most affected by Tory austerity.”


John Wincott (Labour)

John Wincott said: “I have lived in Leslie with my wife and our son for more than 25 years.

“I have been your local councillor for the last four years and have fought hard on a number of key local issues like preserving the out of hours GP service at Glenrothes.

“In my capacity as transport spokesperson I have campaigned for improvements for the A92, reinstatement of the Levenmouth rail link, and re-regulation of bus services in order to preserve key local routes.

“I am also passionate about the environment and sustainability and have been involved in many projects across Fife to reduce our carbon emissions and improve our storm resilience.”