Former Lochaber committee chairman returns to battle for council seat

Independent candidate Thomas MacLennan is one of five candidates contesting the Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward in next month's council elections. NO F14 Thomas
Independent candidate Thomas MacLennan is one of five candidates contesting the Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward in next month's council elections. NO F14 Thomas MacLennan

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A former leader of Highland Council’s Lochaber Area Committee has thrown his hat into the ring as an Independent candidate in next month’s local authority elections.

Thomas MacLennan, who has lived in Lochaber all his life, has been elected to Highland Council twice before and served as the Leader of Lochaber Area Committee
between 2013 and 2017.

He told the Lochaber Times he decided to stand again for election to the council in order to help Lochaber’s Ward 21 – Fort William and Ardnamurchan – get
its ‘fair share’ of funding and resources.

Mr MacLennan added: ‘There are a considerable number of pressing issues that need attention in this ward such as roads, transport, health, social, housing, environment, education, the economy and Coran Ferry to name but a few.

‘I was concerned that most of our existing Lochaber councillors are standing
down – losing lots of experienced councillors all at once is detrimental for this
ward and Lochaber, and its one of the reasons I decided to seek re-election.

‘I was also surprised to find out that I was the only Independent candidate to put
my name forward in Lochaber for election, indeed if I had not stood there
would be no election in Ward 21 – the same as has happened in Ward 11 [Caol
and Mallaig]. Sadly, that level of general apathy does not bode well for local
government in the future.’

Mr MacLennan admitted that as an Independent candidate without the machinery of a political party to fall back on, canvassing for an election in such a large ward as Fort William and Ardnamurchan is no easy task.

‘Though one pledge I can make to voters as an Independent candidate – I will be here to represent you and your families interests long after election day and not a political party and all their agendas.

‘I have always had a simple goal as a Highland Councillor – to find out what money
can be spent in Lochaber and make sure it is spent in Lochaber. Whether it was
getting new schools, a new Belford Hospital site, new council headquarters in
Fort William or freeing up sites to provide new council homes, collaborate with
other councillors and make sure the money comes to Lochaber has always
been my aim.

‘As there are only five candidates, seeking election in a ward with only four
vacant seats, the process is simplified. The four candidates with the highest
amount of first preference votes are duly elected. For that reason, if you want
me to be your Highland Councillor vote Thomas MacLennan one.’