Countdown to the election: 4 key battlegrounds

Voters will go to the poll in under three weeks to choose the Capital's 63 councillors. Picture; SWNS
Voters will go to the poll in under three weeks to choose the Capital's 63 councillors. Picture; SWNS
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Voters will go to the polls in less than three weeks to choose the Capital’s 63 councillors for the next five years. A total of 120 candidates are standing in 17 wards. Ian Swanson begins our look at some of the battlegrounds

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ALMOND

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

2012: Cammy Day (Lab) Allan Jackson (Con) Steve Cardownie (SNP) Vicki Redpath (Lab) CANDIDATES

Eleanor Bird (SNP)

Jim Campbell (Con)

Cammy Day (Lab)

George Gordon (SNP)

Gillian Mackay (Green)

Heather Pugh (Lab)

Nicola Ross (Ind)

Tim Wight (Lib Dem)

TWO of the city’s longest-serving councillors, Steve Cardownie and Allan Jackson, are standing down in this ward, as is Labour’s Vicki Redpath.

Both Labour and the SNP have put up two candidates, as they did in 2012. Top of the poll last time was Labour’s Cammy Day who is sure to get back in.

But it could be more difficult for the party to hold on to its second seat.

Allan Jackson had the second biggest vote last time and the Tories are confident they have enough votes in areas like Trinity to secure a seat for replacement Jim Campbell.

The SNP hopes to get both its candidates – community activist George Gordon and young campaigner Ellie Bird – elected. But Forth is one of the wards being targeted by the Greens who say their candidate Gillian Mackay, who works for Lothian MSP Andy Wightman, would be a valuable addition to the council.

Forth ward includes Newhaven, Trinity, Wardie, Granton and Pilton. In the council’s most recent Edinburgh People Survey it was the ward with the lowest proportion of people saying they were satisfied with Edinburgh as a place to live – 82 per cent compared with 99 per cent in Morningside and Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart.

PENTLAND HILLS

2012: Karen Keil (Lab) Ron Cairns (SNP) Robert Aldridge (Lib Dem)

CANDIDATES

Robert Aldridge (Lib Dem)

Claire Bridgman (SNP)

Mark Brown (Con)

Karen Keil (Lab)

Phyl Meyer (Green)

FIVE candidates are competing for three seats in this ward where Labour and the SNP polled almost equally in 2012.

The SNP’s Ron Cairns is standing down but new candidate, local businesswoman Claire Bridgman is sure to take his place at the City Chambers.

Back in 2007, the Lib Dems got two councillors elected here – the other was former group leader Jenny Dawe – but the party’s share of the vote collapsed from 45 per cent to 18.8 per cent. Nevertheless Cllr Aldridge, who has been on the council since 1984, is expected to be re-elected.

Labour’s Karen Keil, who has a long track record as a community activist before being elected as a councillor, is also likely to get back, although the Tories are pinning their hopes on Mark Brown, who has been a candidate several times before.

DRUM BRAE/ GYLE

2012: Norman Work (SNP) Lindsay Paterson (Con) Alastair Shields (Lib Dem)

CANDIDATES

Daniel Fraser (Scottish Libertarian Party)

Graham Hutchison (Con)

Otto Inglis (Ukip)

Kevin Lang (Lib Dem)

John Longstaff (Ind)

Iain McKinnon-Waddell (Green)

Pamela Mitchell (SNP)

Bruce Whitehead (Lab)

Norman Work (SNP)

Louise Young (Lib Dem)

TEN candidates battle for four places in this ward, which stretches from Davidson’s Mains, Cramond and Silverknowes to South Queensferry, Kirkliston and Newbridge.

Last time, the SNP’s Norman Work topped the poll with almost a third of the votes, Conservative Lindsay Paterson was second with 26 per cent and Lib Dem Alastair Shields got 16 per cent. He quit the party in 2015 to become an independent.

Ms Paterson and Mr Shields are both standing down. And this time there are four seats to fill instead of three.

The Lib Dems, who topped the poll in Almond in 2007, claim their fortunes have revived in this part of the world and they are fielding two candidates – brother and sister Kevin Lang and Louise Young.

But the SNP has also put up two.

Cllr Work is almost certain to be re-elected for the SNP, as is the new Tory. The Lib Dems should also take a seat, but the question is whether the extra seat goes to the Lib Dems, the SNP or Labour.

FORTH

2012: Bill Henderson (SNP) Ricky Henderson (Lab) Dominic Heslop (Con)

CANDIDATES

Graeme Bruce (Con)

Emma Farthing (Lib Dem)

Neil Gardiner (SNP)

Ricky Henderson (Lab)

Ernesta Noreikiene (SNP)

Susan Webber (Con)

Evelyn Weston (Green)

THE SNP, Labour and the Tories were almost level pegging last time in this sprawling ward where boundary changes mean it now includes the whole of Wester Hailes along with Juniper Green, Currie and Balerno.

This is also the ward where Professor Pongoo, an independent candidate who dressed as a penguin, got more votes than the Lib Dems.

Labour’s long-serving Ricky Henderson is seeking re-election and can expect to be safely returned.

But the SNP’s Bill Henderson and the Tories’ Dominic Heslop are standing down.

This time the ward increases from three councillors to four. The SNP and the Tories can be confident of one seat each, but both are fielding two candidates in a bid to take the extra seat.

Tories Graeme Bruce from Balerno and Susan Webber from Juniper Green are both active in their communities.

The SNP hopefuls are NHS worker Neil Gardiner and Lithuanian former civil servant Ernesta Noreikiene who moved to Scotland five years ago.

(4 councillors)

(3 councillors)

(4 councillors)

2012: Cammy Day (Lab) Allan Jackson (Con) Steve Cardownie (SNP) Vicki Redpath (Lab) CANDIDATES

Eleanor Bird (SNP)

Jim Campbell (Con)

Cammy Day (Lab)

George Gordon (SNP)

Gillian Mackay (Green)

Heather Pugh (Lab)

Nicola Ross (Ind)

Tim Wight (Lib Dem)

TWO of the city’s longest-serving councillors, Steve Cardownie and Allan Jackson, are standing down in this ward, as is Labour’s Vicki Redpath.

Both Labour and the SNP have put up two candidates, as they did in 2012. Top of the poll last time was Labour’s Cammy Day who is sure to get back in.

But it could be more difficult for the party to hold on to its second seat.

Allan Jackson had the second biggest vote last time and the Tories are confident they have enough votes in areas like Trinity to secure a seat for replacement Jim Campbell.

The SNP hopes to get both its candidates – community activist George Gordon and young campaigner Ellie Bird – elected. But Forth is one of the wards being targeted by the Greens who say their candidate Gillian Mackay, who works for Lothian MSP Andy Wightman, would be a valuable addition to the council.

Forth ward includes Newhaven, Trinity, Wardie, Granton and Pilton. In the council’s most recent Edinburgh People Survey it was the ward with the lowest proportion of people saying they were satisfied with Edinburgh as a place to live – 82 per cent compared with 99 per cent in Morningside and Fountainbridge/Craiglockhart.

2012: Karen Keil (Lab) Ron Cairns (SNP) Robert Aldridge (Lib Dem)

CANDIDATES

Robert Aldridge (Lib Dem)

Claire Bridgman (SNP)

Mark Brown (Con)

Karen Keil (Lab)

Phyl Meyer (Green)

FIVE candidates are competing for three seats in this ward where Labour and the SNP polled almost equally in 2012.

The SNP’s Ron Cairns is standing down but new candidate, local businesswoman Claire Bridgman is sure to take his place at the City Chambers.

Back in 2007, the Lib Dems got two councillors elected here – the other was former group leader Jenny Dawe – but the party’s share of the vote collapsed from 45 per cent to 18.8 per cent. Nevertheless Cllr Aldridge, who has been on the council since 1984, is expected to be re-elected.

Labour’s Karen Keil, who has a long track record as a community activist before being elected as a councillor, is also likely to get back, although the Tories are pinning their hopes on Mark Brown, who has been a candidate several times before.

2012: Norman Work (SNP) Lindsay Paterson (Con) Alastair Shields (Lib Dem)

CANDIDATES

Daniel Fraser (Scottish Libertarian Party)

Graham Hutchison (Con)

Otto Inglis (Ukip)

Kevin Lang (Lib Dem)

John Longstaff (Ind)

Iain McKinnon-Waddell (Green)

Pamela Mitchell (SNP)

Bruce Whitehead (Lab)

Norman Work (SNP)

Louise Young (Lib Dem)

TEN candidates battle for four places in this ward, which stretches from Davidson’s Mains, Cramond and Silverknowes to South Queensferry, Kirkliston and Newbridge.

Last time, the SNP’s Norman Work topped the poll with almost a third of the votes, Conservative Lindsay Paterson was second with 26 per cent and Lib Dem Alastair Shields got 16 per cent. He quit the party in 2015 to become an independent.

Ms Paterson and Mr Shields are both standing down. And this time there are four seats to fill instead of three.

The Lib Dems, who topped the poll in Almond in 2007, claim their fortunes have revived in this part of the world and they are fielding two candidates – brother and sister Kevin Lang and Louise Young.

But the SNP has also put up two.

Cllr Work is almost certain to be re-elected for the SNP, as is the new Tory. The Lib Dems should also take a seat, but the question is whether the extra seat goes to the Lib Dems, the SNP or Labour.

2012: Bill Henderson (SNP) Ricky Henderson (Lab) Dominic Heslop (Con)

CANDIDATES

Graeme Bruce (Con)

Emma Farthing (Lib Dem)

Neil Gardiner (SNP)

Ricky Henderson (Lab)

Ernesta Noreikiene (SNP)

Susan Webber (Con)

Evelyn Weston (Green)

THE SNP, Labour and the Tories were almost level pegging last time in this sprawling ward where boundary changes mean it now includes the whole of Wester Hailes along with Juniper Green, Currie and Balerno.

This is also the ward where Professor Pongoo, an independent candidate who dressed as a penguin, got more votes than the Lib Dems.

Labour’s long-serving Ricky Henderson is seeking re-election and can expect to be safely returned.

But the SNP’s Bill Henderson and the Tories’ Dominic Heslop are standing down.

This time the ward increases from three councillors to four. The SNP and the Tories can be confident of one seat each, but both are fielding two candidates in a bid to take the extra seat.

Tories Graeme Bruce from Balerno and Susan Webber from Juniper Green are both active in their communities.

The SNP hopefuls are NHS worker Neil Gardiner and Lithuanian former civil servant Ernesta Noreikiene who moved to Scotland five years ago.