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Aberdeenshire Council stalwart Ian Mollison to retire after 15 years

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A councillor who has dedicated the last 15 years to speaking up for North Kincardine has announced he is retiring.

Ian Mollison became a councillor for the Liberal Democrats in 2007, and is one of four representing towns and villages including Portlethen, Lairhillock, Elsick, and Newtonhill.

Now he has decided it is time for “someone younger” to take on the mission and has announced he will retire at the May elections.

The news comes on the same day as council leader Andy Kille announced he would not be seeking re-election for family and health reasons.

In a heartfelt message on social media, Mr Mollison wrote: “It has been an honour to have represented the ward, but now is the time to step aside for someone younger. The years are adding up now.”

The councillor said one of his highlights over the years has been seeing the development of the Chapelton of Elsick – which was hailed as Scotland’s newest town.

He told the Press and Journal the decision to approve the project – which could eventually have 8,000 homes, three schools, health and retail facilities – was the “right thing to do” and said it was “unlike any other development”.

Another memorable moment was when an orchestra from Scottish Ballet played at the Bettridge Centre in Newtonhill for the primary school – with the Pirates of the Caribbean sticking in his mind.

Chapelton of Elsick was hailed for its sustainable designs incorporating living and work space

A ‘baptism of fire’

However, Mr Mollision admitted there had also been some tougher times too – including the controversy around Donald Trump’s golf resort at Menie.

Mr Mollsion told us: “When I was a new councillor, the Trump proposals at Menie landed on my desk along with the other councillors, and that was a baptism of fire.

“That autumn, I got hundreds of emails coming in – not all of them pleasant – the vast majority were they just objected to Donald Trump having a golf course in Aberdeenshire.

“Of course, it finished with him getting planning approval but when it was turned down by the committee that I sat on, the public furore was something that really took me aback.”



 

More recently, he was disappointed when the Scottish Government overturned a council decision to reject a planning application for 120 homes on the moor at Newtonhill.

Ian Mollison hopes Newtonhill Station will reopen

Final 100 days

Although Mr Mollison is now looking forward to retirement – and more time with his grandchildren – there is still work to be done in his final 100 days of term.

Aberdeenshire Council will set its budget next month, meaning some tough decisions will need to be made on the future of services for the coming year.

Mr Mollison added: “The hardest part about being a councillor is trying to explain difficult situations to people.

“Trying to put forward the reasons why councillors have done something is always a challenge.”

And while he won’t be leading the charge, he is hopeful that the campaign to finally get Newtonhill Station will continue along the “right track”.

Mr Mollison added: “There comes a time when you have to think, could somebody better, younger, more energy be doing a better job.”

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