Local Conservatives launch manifesto

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FORMARTINE’S Conservative councillors launched their manifesto on Tuesday, with a promise to focus on local issues affecting people in the area.

At a low-key unveiling at Cllr Owen’s home, Cllrs Gillian Owen and Jim Gifford outlined their priorities for the area in the run up to the council elections on May 3.

“A lot of what is in the manifesto is a continuation of the policies we have been pursuing as part of the administration,” said Jim. “However, for example, one of our commitments is that we will look into reining in the powers of the Scottish Government’s reporters to interfere with the council’s planning process.”

Gillian added that the area’s Conservative group had formed a constructive and effective partner on the shire’s administration, and that the party had risen to meet the challenges of a tough financial climate.

“Aberdeenshire consistently scores well compared to other local authorities, and that’s got a lot to do with the fact that we have been working hard for our wards,” she said. “Another thing we’re looking into is the possibility of giving additional ‘points’ to those from a particular area looking to rent a council house where they live. We had been told that this wasn’t possible, but it is, and it’s something we want to do.”

The party has offered candidates significant autonomy to develop policies best for their local area, which Jim believes to be an advantage.

“At our conference, we were told by John Lamont regarding the manifesto - “take from it what works best.” We’ve got considerable latitude finding local solutions to local problems. What works in Stranraer might not be appropriate for the north-east, afterall.”