Freelance Web/Graphic designer, photographer & community campaigner

PAGE ARCHIVED FROM THE FIFE COUNCIL 2017 LOCAL ELECTIONS

My background

Born in Lochgelly, I have stayed in the town all my life, where I am now bringing up my own family. As an active volunteer and community activist for over 15 years, I have worked with socially excluded youths and individuals, and served on the Lochgelly Going Forward committee to create the Lochgelly Community Action Plan as well as numerous other groups supporting Lochgelly Gala, Christmas Lights and Growing in Lochgelly among others. I was also secretary and then chair of Lochgelly Community Council.

As co-founder and spokesman for the hyper-local Loch of Shining Waters, I have used Freedom of Information to promote greater scrutiny of the local authority and our elected representatives. I also co-founded the national campaign group Scotland Against Spin in 2012, lobbied the Scottish Government and was instrumental in making sure Little Raith Wind Farm was included in the Scottish Government commissioned “Wind Farm Impacts Study”.

I continue to volunteer with LoSW and other local community groups whilst earning a living from self-employed graphic and web design.

What I believe in

  • Councillors are elected to serve the people first and foremost. Party-political point-scoring has no place in local government.
  • Being a councillor should be a vocation, not a career choice.
  • Transparency, accountability and engaging local people should be at the heart of everything Fife Council and its elected representatives do.
  • People, communities and community groups should have a greater voice in the local authority and on planning matters. We need to move away from developer-led planning and put more trust and investment in our communities.
  • Communities know best what is right for them. We should prioritise community development, including new community ownership models for our public facilities to help grow local skills and talent.
Skills/Experience Press Releases Campaigns Blog Contact

If elected I will....

Put people first and act on their concerns, being the strongest possible voice for residents and local communities

Seek to improve the accountability and transparency of councillors

  • All committee meetings should be filmed and broadcast live with an archive available for download.
  • Councillor votes at committee meetings are not recorded. People have no way of knowing how their local councillor voted. All votes by councillors should be clearly recorded in the minutes.
  • Committee meetings are poorly mic’d, which discriminates against those suffering from hearing loss. Meetings should have an adequate PA system in place and audio can be broadcast live across the Internet.
  • The Register of Interests for Councillors is poorly formatted, making it unclear when a declaration of gift or corporate hospitality was offered and accepted. The Register of Interests should be provided for each year exclusively and councillors should explicitly state the date, value and any acceptance/refusal of any gift/hospitality.
  • Establish for each councillor on Fifedirect a public record of attendance for committee meetings etc so that the public can see if their representative is doing their job.

Seek increased funding for Community Learning & Development

  • Fife Council needs to prioritise helping communities to develop grassroots projects and increase community activism.
  • This means not just significantly increased resources for Community Learning & Development but also a range of other initiatives to promote community empowerment.

Prioritise direct engagement with residents over any proposed community developments

  • Instead of employing expensive consultants to come up with vanity developments, we need sensible community development projects that are truly resident-led.

Help residents to take ownership of public facilities and land through the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act

  • This means working with groups to take joint ownership (with possible full ownership) of Lochore Meadows and other public facilities.

Fight for targeted funding of our Primary Health Care Services

  • This is the only way to tackle the growing health inequalities in our communities. Schools in deprived areas get increased funding to tackle inequalities; this should be the same for Primary Health Care.

Work with residents and groups to seek better resolutions from the impacts of Mossmorran

  • Challenge the Mossmorran Community Liaison Board to make all future meetings open to the public.
  • Challenge the community councillors and councillors who accept corporate hospitality gifts from the plant operators.
  • Seek an independent online platform that provides dedicated and detailed information (where possible) about the Mossmorran plant (planned flaring, accident reports, minutes from meetings, technical & non-technical reports, etc).
  • Establish an independent community-led group that will work with the local authority, the plant operators and regulatory bodies to minimize the impacts, improve community engagement and seek community compensation.

Ensure that key recommendations in the Community Action Plans for Benarty, Cardenden and Lochgelly are implemented by

  • Working with residents and community groups to take on individual projects called for in the Community Action Plans.
  • Working at Fife Council and with other agencies to secure the necessary funding to bring these projects to completion.

Support our young people through skill development projects

  • Use these projects to give people a greater say in our communities, including opportunities for them to create and take ownership of local youth projects, such as for example youth club facilities in Lochgelly, Cardenden and Benarty.

Look to identify all the Common Good assets and funds within our communities

  • Make sure the list is publicly available and that residents are informed of their rights under Common Good and the responsibilities the local authority has to the people under Common Good.

Seek to upgrade playparks and equipment in our towns

  • Explore possibilities for local joint ownership of our park spaces.
  • Residents and families know best how their local park should be developed, and it is high time Fife Council and councillors put their aspirations first.

Push to bring the Unconditional Basic Income trial to Benarty, Cardenden and Lochgelly

  • Our areas offer a perfect site for trialling Unconditional Basic Income.

Seek to improve the accountability and transparency of community councils

  • All community councils should be issued a generic Fife Council email address to create a consistent set of online contact details regardless of changes to Office Bearers.
  • Support community councils to utilize modern technologies that will stream meetings live via the Internet.
  • Support community councils to have an online presence through FifeDirect, and encourage community councils to develop external sites using Open Source platforms.
  • Increase regulation and governance of community councils, including improving declaration of interests rules, complaints procedures and rules for limiting political interference in community councils.

Community specific issues....

BENARTY
4,989
estimated population
  • Support the development of youth club and other facilities for young people
  • Improve paths and trails around Lochore Meadows so that the interests of walkers, families, and disabled users are balanced against those of other park-users
  • Work with residents to improve playpark facilities for children and families
  • Work with households in Glencraig to implement traffic calming/speed restriction measures
  • Explore, support and develop community ownership models for Lochore Meadows Country Park
  • Work with community groups, residents and Fife Council to attempt to resolve public transport issues for Kirkcaldy bus services
  • Work with residents to introduce community defibrillators in public spaces
  • Seek improved maintenance of the core path network
  • Support the work of residents and community groups to develop local priorities as identified in the Benarty Community Action Plan
CARDENDEN
5,983
estimated population
  • Support the development of a youth cafe and/or drop-in facilities for young people
  • Support residents and local environmental groups to improve entrances to the village and improve the built environment
  • Work with residents to improve playpark facilities for children and families
  • Support residents to develop long-term support plans for the community garden
  • Work with residents to introduce community defibrillators in public spaces
  • Seek improved maintenance of the core path network
  • Work with residents and RWE to develop solutions and compromises over the excessive dust impacting on residents
  • Work with community groups, residents and Fife Council to attempt to resolve public transport issues for bus services: 32, 33 and x54
  • Support the work of residents and community groups to develop local priorities as identified in the Cardenden Community Action Plan
Lochgelly
6,234
estimated population
  • Support the development of youth club and other facilities for young people
  • Work with residents to improve playpark facilities for children and families
  • Investigate and seek development opportunities for a supermarket and petrol station at the WeatherMac site
  • Campaign to introduce street lighting or more light reflective surfaces to improve safety for the Lochgelly A92 junction
  • Work with residents to introduce community defibrillators in public spaces
  • Push for development at Gelly Loch to improve accessibility for residents
  • Explore, support and develop community ownership models for Lochgelly Town House
  • Seek improved maintenance of the core path network
  • Work with residents to tackle long-term complaints connected to the Mossmorran facilities
  • Support the work of residents and community groups to develop local priorities as identified in the Lochgelly Community Action Plan

Your vote matters....


All the latest information on voting in the UK is available at: www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.

If you are not registered to vote, you can register to vote online through the UK GOV website: www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.

You can also contact Fife Council on 03451 55 55 11 or find further information by visiting: www.fifedirect.org.uk.


Lets better protect our communities from austerity cuts.

In the former Lochs Ward an estimated 30% of children (914) are living in poverty, while in the current Lochgelly and Cardenden Ward 29% of children are living in poverty (788).

  • Areas in Benarty are in the 10% – 30% most deprived areas in Scotland
  • Areas in Cardenden are in the 20% – 40% most deprived areas in Scotland.
  • Areas in Lochgelly are in the top 10% – 40% most deprived areas in Scotland.
  • Lumphinnans is in the top 10% most deprived areas in Scotland

Increased investment and support for residents and community groups will strengthen and grow our communities, and help to further develop local skills.