Time to make a stand

A PAIR of community activists have chosen to stand for election after being “ignored by the council”.

Bryson McNeil is currently a Newton Mearns community councillor but he will bid for election in the Newton Mearns south ward.

Meanwhile, Giffnock community council chair Hugh Moore will be vying for votes in the Giffnock and Thornliebank ward.

The independent candidates both agree the community in East Renfrewshire is searching for a local voice.

Mr McNeil told The Extra: “Community councils have become redundant. All you have to do is see the continued encroachment on greenbelt to realise the council just doesn’t listen”.

The 69-year-old retired greengrocer added: “The current councillors have their own party political agendas. I have lived in Newton Mearns for 40 years, so not many people know the area and its people as well as I do”.

Mr Moore, who currently works as a manager in urban regeneration, has criticised councillors who don’t live where they are standing.

A total of 17 of the forty candidates standing for election live outside their chosen ward.

In Giffnock and Thornliebank, Giffnock resident Mr Moore will be standing against three candidates — Jim Fletcher, Gordon Wallace and Vincent Waters — who live outside the ward.

“I would only stand in Giffnock, as that’s where I live”, Mr Moore said, “I don’t think you can ever genuinely reflect an area’s best interests if you don’t live there.

“The council has ignored this ward over big issues such as the closure of Robslee primary school and the long-standing issue of Braidbar Quarry.

“If councillors did their job better, I wouldn’t need to stand. I plan to represent the people of this community and ensure they are involved

“People have a lot to say and contribute if they’re given the chance — all too often councillors feel threatened by this”.

Ralph Robertson has been an independent councillor in Netherlee, Stamperland and Williamwood for five years.

He resigned from the administration in 2009 when the council refused to seek compensation for its role in monitoring Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi.

Mr Robertson told The Extra: “The administration has been guided by party politics, at local level. That’s not right.

“They have not listened to residents as roads continue to deteriorate and our greenbelt continues to be built on. The people need to be listened to, not the whims of a party far removed from local issues”.