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‘It was a risk – but it paid off’: Jim Gifford secures seat in new ward as independent

Jim Gifford is determined to fight plans for a quarry at Beauty Hill. Picture by Paul Glendell.
Jim Gifford is determined to fight plans for a quarry at Beauty Hill. Picture by Paul Glendell.

After taking “a calculated risk” to stand in a new ward, Jim Gifford is “delighted” to be returning to council chambers.

The former Aberdeenshire Council leader stepped into this year’s elections with several big decisions hanging over his head, which could have easily cost him his job.

After three decades of political devotion to the Conservative party, Mr Gifford decided to stand as an independent candidate for the first time since 2007.

And just to add on to the “daunting” uncertainty of joining the fight without a party behind him, he also let go of his 15-year-old seat in Mid-Formartine to seek election in East Garioch.

This change was so that he can take up arms against proposals to create a quarry the “size of 12 football pitches” on his doorstep at Whitecairns.

Ready to take reins of new ward

However, with a total of 321 votes, he was one of the four successful candidates alongside Dominic Lonchay (Conservatives), Trevor Mason (Lib Dems) and Glen Reid (SNP).

He said: “I’m very relieved and delighted that the people of East Garioch have put some support my way that got me across the line as one of the councillors.

“You put yourself forward to these things and you have no idea – especially this year – what the outcome will be.

“It was a calculated risk  – standing in a new ward for the first time and especially standing as an independent. It was quite daunting, but thankfully it has paid off.

“And we are going straight in it on Monday. It will be good learn the ropes in a new ward and meeting the new community councils. And even though it’s a different ward, the priorities are the same – road safety, provision of good schools, speeding, etc.

“All I can say is, huge gratitude to everybody who voted for me and I look forward to representing them.”

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