Candidates fighting for votes in the north-western Almond ward ahead of May’s Edinburgh Council election are campaigning to protect greenbelt land, crack down on anti-social behaviour in the area and strengthen the role of community councils.
In less than three weeks people living in the ward will be asked to rank the nine hopefuls in order of preference at the ballot box. The four most popular will go on to represent the area on the council for the next five years.
The ward covers the communities of Barnton, Cammo, Cramond, Davidson’s Mains, Muirhouse, Silverknowes, Dalmeny, Kirkliston, Newbridge and South Queensferry.
A boundary change made ahead of the last local government election in 2017 increased the population and as a result it changed from a three to a four-member ward.
Issues that have affected the local area recently include a bid for housing on the protected Cammo Greenbelt, prolonged roadworks on Queensferry High Street and the council’s failure to make safety improvements to a roundabout in Davidson’s Mains where a pensioner died after being struck down by a bus five years ago.
At every ballot since the ward’s creation in 2007, voters have elected Conservative, Liberal Democrat and SNP councillors, however a surge in support for the Lib Dems in Almond in 2017 saw the party increase its share of first preference votes (FPv) by more than a quarter, picking up the most first and second preference votes.
Lib Dems received more than half of all votes in Edinburgh Western – the Holyrood constituency which includes Almond – at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election.
2017 council election results
- Kevin Lang, Liberal Democrats: 42.8% FPv (6,079 total)
- Louise Young, Liberal Democrats: 8% FPv (3,652 total)
- Graham Hutchison, Conservatives: 16.9% FPv (2,995 total)
- Norman Work, SNP: 13.9% FPv (3,744 total)
The only incumbent councillor not seeking re-election this year is the Conservative Graham Hutchison, who said previously he took the decision due to the ‘toxic atmosphere’ in the council. Taking his place will be James Hill, a manager for Openreach who’s running for the first time.
Following their success last time round, the Lib Dems are standing a third candidate in the ward, Lewis Younie, alongside incumbents Kevin Lang and sister Louise Young.
For the Labour Party is Fred Hessler, a retired mental health and learning disability nurse who first got involved in politics as a student activist.
Meanwhile, Norman Work, an Edinburgh councillor first elected in 2007, will look to secure a further five years in the City Chambers.
Standing for the Green Party is ex-chair of Tollcross Community Council Andrew Brough, who’s also previously worked for the BBC and as a civil servant.
The Workers Party of Britain candidate is Annemarie Baillie and the Scottish Family Party have put forward Stewart Geddes.
Full list of candidates standing in Almond
Annemarie Baillie, Workers Party of Britain
Andrew Brough, Scottish Green Party
Stewart Geddes, Scottish Family Party: Pro-Family, Pro-Marriage, Pro-Life
Fred Hessler, Scottish Labour Party
James Hill, Scottish Conservative and Unionist
Kevin Lang, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Norrie Work, Scottish National Party (SNP)
Louise Young, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Lewis James Younie, Scottish Liberal Democrats
by Donald Turvill Local Democracy Reporter
The Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) is a public service news agency : funded by the BBC, provided by the local news sector, and used by qualifying partners. Local Democracy Reporters cover top-tier local authorities and other public service organisations.