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New councillors guaranteed for Forres voters

There will be four new councillors representing the Forres ward following the Scottish local government elections next month.
There will be four new councillors representing the Forres ward following the Scottish local government elections next month.

It will be all new councillors for Forres after the local government elections on May 5.

Neither George Alexander, Lorna Creswell, Claire Feaver or Aaron McLean are seeking re-election, and will stand down next month.

Priorities for the six candidates vying for the four seats include improving education, bringing lollipop patrollers back and the state of the town centre.

James Hynam, Labour

NHS health care support worker James Hynam is the Labour candidate in the ward. He is a member of Kinloss Primary parent council, and if elected wants the return of school crossing patrollers who were axed by the SNP as part of budget cuts.

He said: “In terms of local issues, I felt I could be the kind of person that whinges about things or I could do something.

“I live in Kinloss and it’s quite a busy road through. A lot of parents have tried to persuade the council to put in a school crossing patroller, but it’s been very difficult.

“Parents felt the response has been very slow, and it was quite hard to get hold of our local councillors. If I was lucky enough to get elected I’d be accessible.

“I work in health and social care and there’s a lot of gaps. I feel it would be good if there was someone who knows about the service making decisions about it.”

Labour candidate James Hynam

Scott Lawrence, SNP

Former postie Scott Lawrence is standing for the SNP. He grew up in Forres and lives there with his wife Lisa and their two daughters.

For six years he was a youth worker based in Forres, where he ran groups and helped young people learn life skills.

Mr Lawrence recently left his job with the Royal Mail after 24 years service, and now runs his own business as clinical hypnotherapist.

Scott Lawrence is standing for the SNP

He said: “The High Street is very important to people in Forres, as it is to people throughout the UK.

“The closure of the bank and shops is changing the face of the High Street. That could open the door for smaller businesses to take their place in the town centre.

“The whisky industry has become a main industry in Moray over the last 10 to 15 years, and that encourages tourists to come to Moray.

“What needs to be done is to attract people to come for jobs in the NHS, teaching and other areas where there are shortages.”

Paul McBain, Conservative

Paul McBain is the first of two Conservative candidates standing in the ward. He lives in Kinloss and has run the shop and Post Office in Forres for the last 15 years.

Born and bred in Fochabers he is keen to see improvements in the education system and more choices for young people.

He said: “I’m a grandparent of four and I want the opportunity for my grandchildren to stay in Moray, if that’s what they wish.

“I will put my head above the parapet, I’m not one of these people who shout from the sidelines, and if something’s wrong I will question it.

“I don’t have all the answers, but I want to be one of the people making decisions over the next five years.”

One of the Conservative candidates Paul McBain

Mr McBain believes the rising cost of having an outlet in the town centre is making trading increasingly difficult for businesses.

He said: “The journey for rent and rates is upwards, and there’s no possibility of them being reduced and that has to be addressed.”

Shaun Moat, independent

Former chairman of Forres Community Council and digital marketing agency owner Shaun Moat is standing as an independent.

He was posted to Moray when he joined the RAF in 1997 and lives in Kinloss with his partner Kay. They have eight children between them.

Mr Moat said: “The reason I’m standing is because I want to give back to the community.

Shaun Moat is also standing for election

“I don’t think we have enough facilities and activities for young people, and anti-social behaviour is though to be linked to a lack of things to do.

“I want to work with schools, parents and pupils to look as how we can improve attainment, and as we move into digital and space technologies, how we support youngsters to get the education they need so they can take up these opportunities and stay in Forres.”

He also called on elected members to listen to community councils, and gave his support for the development of the former Leanchoil Hospital site into a centre for veterans.

Kathleen Robertson, Conservative

Vet Kathleen Robertson has worked in Moray for over 20 years, and is the second Conservative candidate standing in the ward.

She was president of the Scottish Branch of the British Veterinary Association and chairwoman of the Board of the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons.

Currently chairwoman of Forres Community Council, Ms Robertson lives in the town with her husband and their two children.

Vet Kathleen Robertson is also standing for the Conservatives

She said: “Education is a bit hit and miss in Moray, and we need to see if we can up attainment and improve destinations for pupils, because not everyone wants to stay on at school.

“The hybrid method of teaching, brought in because of the pandemic, needs to be expanded. Some kids seem to thrive in the school environment and some thrive at home.”

Mrs Robertson is keen to see clearer pathways for those navigation the social care system.

She said: “Being a vet you see so many people come in with their animals with problems and you listen, gather the evidence and find a solution.

“I think those are the same skills you need as a councillor, to listen, gather the evidence and find a solution.”

Draeyk van der Horn, Green Party

The Green Party candidate Draeyk van der Horn lives in Findhorn with his husband Bruce.

Mr van der Horn is keen to promote the green economy and support people through mentoring and apprenticeship schemes so they do not feel disenfranchised from politics or society.

He said: “The things that are happening at the moment, such as the cost of living crisis, is the same for Forres as it is for many people in the UK.

“We need to make food available for everybody, and we need to look at how we support farmers and growers so they can produce quality food and have a sustainable business.

“The closure of the Royal Bank of Scotland, the last bank in Forres, and the move to online services doesn’t work for those who are digitally disadvantaged.

“And the High Street is important because that’s where we come to meet our friends.”

Draeyk Van Der Horn is the Green Party representative

Forres is the largest town in the ward that includes the coastal village of Findhorn, Kinloss where army regiment 39 Engineer is based, Brodie and rural communities.

Local government elections will take place on Thursday May 5.

The count in Moray will take place in Elgin Town Hall from 9am the following day.

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