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Published On: Wed, May 3rd, 2017 at 1:08pm

Council Elections 2017 – Morningside

The current councillors for the ward are

Mark McInnes – Scottish Conservative and Unionist
Melanie Main – Scottish Green Party
Paul Godzik – The Labour & Co-operative Party
Sandy Howat – Scottish National Party (SNP)

Councillor McInnes is resigning as he was elevated to the House of Lords in David Cameron’s Dissolution Honours List and now travels to London as Lord Mcinnes of Kilwinning CBE. He received the CBE last New Year, and in view of his work as head of the Conservatives office in Edinburgh he was further honoured. In May 2016 Ruth Davidson MSP the leader of the Conservative party in Scotland was returned as the MSP for Edinburgh Central along with others who boosted the Conservative numbers at Holyrood. To date he has asked one question in the Lords.

Paul Godzik has been the Education Convener for most of the five years of the administration, but has recently moved out of town and is stepping down in May.

Sandy Howat was leader of the SNP Group for a year, but the SNP Group hold annual votes on who their leader is and who fills all other posts. He lost that position to Councillor Frank Ross last year and with it probably the opportunity to become the council leader in 2017. He can probably fit more words into a three minute speech than most other current councillors.

The ward remains a four member ward

The 2017 candidates are :

COOK, Nick (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)

HOWAT, Sandy (Scottish National Party (SNP))

LAND, Chris (Scottish Conservative and Unionist)

MAIN, Melanie (Scottish Green Party)

ROSS, Neil (Scottish Liberal Democrats)

WATT, Mandy (Scottish Labour Party)

Nick Cook Conservative

Nick Cook

Nick was selected to take over the Conservative mantle from Mark McInnes who is retiring to the House of Lords at this election.

You can read about him here.

Sandy Howat SNP

A former leader of the SNP Group who ousted Councillor Steve Cardownie from the role, Sandy Howat was latterly relegated to the back benches.

Sandy has been active in reviewing the planning of the city, in the education of our citizens and focused on the integration of our health and social care services.

Before becoming a Councillor Sandy worked predominantly in financial services and personnel development.

Sandy is married with a son and lives in South Edinburgh.

Chris Land Conservative

Chris Land is one of two Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party candidates standing in the newly named Morningside Ward, alongside Councillor Nick Cook.
  • Raised and lives in Morningside Ward. Educated locally, at South Morningside Primary and George Heriot’s School.
  • Graduated from the University of Cambridge in 2009 with a degree in Oriental Studies. Speaks several languages, including Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
  • Lived in Shanghai before working as a political risk consultant in London for four years, advising multi-national companies on investment in Asian emerging and frontier markets.
  • Returned to Scotland in 2014 to campaign for No vote in the independence referendum. Now works as a political adviser to Scottish Conservative education spokesperson Liz Smith MSP in The Scottish Parliament.
  • Interests include history, cinema, architecture and rugby. Plays for Heriot’s Rugby Club and The Scottish Parliament team.
Priorities for Morningside Ward:
Morningside is a great place to live and work and I want to keep it that way. However, I believe that there are still many improvements that can be made to it. I want to give the ward a strong local voice in the City Chambers and not only have its issues tackled but also be a key part of overall planning for a strong and successful Edinburgh. Specifically, I want to address the following issues:
  • Make much needed improvements to Morningside’s roads and pavements. The Conservatives are pledging to do this by improving the technical specification of repairs and restructuring the tendering and delivery of repairs and maintenance so that people get the best value for money for their Council Tax.
  • Improve the infrequent and patchy coverage of our bin collection and recycling services, making them more reliable and cost effective by tendering parts or all of the service and prioritising higher standards and lower costs.
  • Ensure our local schools have sufficient capacity and see through the successful building of a new primary school for Morningside.
  • Improve Morningside’s transport links with the rest of the city and elsewhere by lobbying for the re-opening of the South Suburban Railway and Morningside Station.
  • Oppose destructive planning applications, such as those recently proposed for Craighouse, Midmar Paddock, Comiston Farmhouse and the Old Royal High School. We all understand the pressures that a growing Edinburgh will put on the city’s infrastructure, however I believe that this can be mitigated and balanced with preserving Edinburgh’s fantastic architectural heritage.
  • Press the Council to provide funding for a gull de-nesting service to tackle the urban gull problem in our city’s tenement areas such as Bruntsfield and Marchmont.

Melanie Main Green Party

Melanie Main – Morningside

Melanie Main speaks on education matters for the five strong Edinburgh Green group.

Melanie is standing for the new ward of Morningside. In 2012 she was elected Green councillor for Meadows/Morningside, and has been working hard ever since, doing just what she said she’d do. Here are just a few examples:

She worked tirelessly as a founding member of Bruntsfield’s community owned Green Grocer, Dig-in, the first urban community run green grocer in Scotland. Melanie was chair for the first two years, as the venture was setup and the shop opened.

For 4 years Melanie persistently campaigned with fellow Green Councillor Steve Burgess for rights of way across the beautiful Astley Ainslie Hospital site. Following their success public access is now guaranteed across the site in perpetuity, linking residents to the shops on Morningside Road and maintaining a green space for local families.

Melanie called for and led the largest participatory budget event – South Central Decides – in Edinburgh, transforming the way our council listens to residents. Over £200,000 local funding given over to residents to decide how to spend, with the money being used to fix roads, improve the local environment, and fund local community projects.

Melanie has supported hundreds of residents finding solutions to individual problems and local issues.

Melanie sits on the Education and Audit committees, holding the Council and administration to account. Though not glamorous, her work on governance has been transformational in opening up access to information.

Neil Ross Liberal Democrats

Neil Ross has lived in Morningside for the last 30 years and is committed to serving his community.

He has spent all of his working life helping people to solve problems. As a Chartered Accountant in Edinburgh for the last 30 years, Neil has been looking after the tax affairs of small businesses, individuals and trustees.

Neil is an elder of Greenbank Church and recently served as Session Clerk. For 25 years he has held a number of leadership roles with the 4th Braid Scout Group. He is married with two grown up children.

Neil wants to be your next local councillor in order to get things done for the community.

He is currently campaigning on:

  • Improving our roads and pavements.
  • Reducing traffic congestion and commuter parking by establishing a Park & Ride site at Lothianburn.
  • Improving bus services such as the number 11, X15, 36 and 38 routes.
  • Developing new cycle routes and lanes.
  • Getting the basics right – emptying bins on time and keeping streets clean.

Mandy Watt Labour

Mandy said : “I’m standing for election in Edinburgh’s Morningside Ward, which includes Bruntsfield, Marchmont and Merchiston.
“If you’d like to have a local councillor who cares about the things you care about, and will campaign with you to get things done, then I hope you’ll consider voting for me this Thursday, May 4th.
“Team Labour has been working hard in your area.”

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About the Author


Founding Editor of The Edinburgh Reporter.
Edinburgh-born multimedia journalist, and always available for freelance work.
A keen iPhoneographer!

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