Lochaber entrepreneur Angus MacDonald elected for Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward

The new councillors for the Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward met up together this week. From left, Thomas MacLennan (Ind), Sarah Fanet (SNP), Dr Kate Willis (Green) and Angus MacDonald (Lib Dem). NO F19 ward 21 councillors 02
The new councillors for the Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward met up together this week. From left, Thomas MacLennan (Ind), Sarah Fanet (SNP), Dr Kate Willis (Green) and Angus MacDonald (Lib Dem). NO F19 ward 21 councillors 02

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Lochaber entrepreneur and author, Angus MacDonald, is one of a crop of four new faces representing the Fort William and Ardnamurchan ward on Highland Council after he topped the first round of the vote count in last week’s local authority elections.

The voter turn-out was 45 per cent. Mr MacDonald, from Roshven, who stood on the LibDem ticket, garnered 1,500 of the 4,056 votes cast and was elected at stage one of the count.

Lochaber also gets only its second ever Scottish Greens councillor with the election of Dr Kate Willis, who joins fellow party member Andrew Baldrey, who was elected for Caol and Mallaig.

Local environmental campaigner and marine scientist Dr Kate Willis, pictured, is to stand as a candidate for the Scottish Greens in the coming Fort William and Ardnamurchan by-election. NO F44 Kate Willis
Local environmental campaigner and marine scientist Dr Kate Willis, pictured, of the Lochaber Greens.

There was no actual votes cast in the election for the Caol and Mallaig ward as Mr Baldrey was one of only three candidates to put their name forward for the three-member seat.

Dr Willis was elected at stage four along with former Lochaber Area Committee chairman Thomas MacLennan, who stood as an Independent.

Independent Thomas MacLennan is one four new councillors for the ward. NO F14 Thomas MacLennan
Independent Thomas MacLennan is one four new councillors for the ward.

Joining Mr MacDonald, Dr Willis and Mr MacLennan in representing Ward 21 will be re-elected SNP councillor, Sara Fanet, who was also elected at stage one, taking 1,341 votes.

NO F17 SarahFanet
Sarah Fanet

The unsuccessful fifth candidate was Conservative Dr Fiona Fawcett.

A delighted Mr MacDonald, who owns the Highland Cinema in Fort William, told the Lochaber Times all the new councillors faced challenges ahead.

‘Lochaber, and indeed the Highland Council, has really suffered from funds and powers being clawed back by Holyrood,’ he said.

‘The central belt has had massive infrastructure spend and we have had next to none. I am sure all the councillors can work together to make Fort William vibrant and beautiful, to the benefit of the whole of Lochaber.’

Dr Willis, the first Greens councillor for Fort William and Ardnamurchan, added: ‘I hope I will be able to build on the work I have already been doing to improve active travel infrastructure in the area, and I will be guided by the Greens Highland manifesto, focusing on climate action, working to deliver warm affordable homes, improve public transport, promote sustainable tourism, and support local teachers.

‘I look forward to working with my fellow councillors to deliver a greener, fairer Highlands.’

Ms Fanet, who returns as a councillor for the ward after first being elected in December in a by-election, told us: ‘I am delighted and honoured to have been re-elected by the people of Fort William and Ardnamurchan. I see it as an endorsement of the hard work since I was first elected five months ago.

‘Visiting constituents and encouraging better communication between Highland Council and communities will continue. Every community matters, must be heard and empowered.

‘As the only re-elected councillor in Lochaber I would like to congratulate and welcome my new colleagues. I look forward to working with all of them for the people of our wards. The people of the Highlands want us to work together.’