The SNP have retained their seat in Highland Council’s Inverness Central ward by a large margin.
Emma Roddick was declared victorious at the third stage in the single transferable vote process with 1,115 votes.
The Scottish Conservatives’ Rachael Hatfield came second with 360 votes, followed by Independent candidate Richie Paxton with 338.
Labour’s Ardalan Eghtedar was dismissed at the first stage with 154 votes, while by Stage 3, the Scottish Liberal Democrats had 325 votes, and the Greens 238.
Just a quarter of the Inverness Central electorate turned out to vote, 2,276 voters out of 8,877.
Ms Roddick, who works for the Scottish Ambulance Service said she didn’t expect to be ahead by such a margin at first preference stage.
She said: “It’s humbling. I’m really excited to start working for Inverness Central.
“I recognise that it wasn’t just SNP first preferences that won this, and I’m keen to make sure I represent all the people who transferred across in the end, and all those who voted for other candidates as well.”
Ms Roddick said her priorities for her ward are housing and mental health.
She said: “If there isn’t the right access to appropriate affordable housing for people then that’s spread throughout their entire lives in terms of work and family life.
“I want to make sure houses are being built and that they’re being built in the right places, and are affordable.”
On mental health, Ms Roddick said: “I volunteer for Mikey’s Line and I’m really keen to try and improve crisis services for people who are in immediate danger of suicide.”
She went on: “Central is such a diverse ward and that came across when I was on the doors.
“Knocking doors in Merkinch and the Ferry is so different from going up to the Hill district or Culduthel road.
“It’s a challenge, but it’s really exciting and I don’t think it’s going to be a boring ward to represent.”
Second-placed Conservative Rachael Hatfield said: “It’s my first time standing so I’m over the moon.
“Emma did an amazing campaign, everybody did, so I can’t really say much more.
“I didn’t expect to win, but I didn’t expect to come second. I’m happy I was able to get out there and learn a lot, and I hope to be back.”
Independent candidate businessman Richie Paxton said it was a learning curve for him, and he hoped to stand again.
He said: “A lot of people know me in Inverness, but not so much in the Central ward, so I’ll be working on that for the future.”
The Scottish Green Party said they were pleased with their result, which showed an increase in votes of 10% from the 2017 council elections.
Inverness Central became vacant after the resignation of Richard Laird, SNP. The other seats are held by Janet Campbell, Independent, and Bet McAllister, Labour.
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