Edinburgh council elections: Norrie Rowan's bid to become an independent councillor may be a long shot, but stranger things have happened – Steve Cardownie

It is extremely unlikely, to say the least, that an ‘independent’ candidate will emerge as a councillor once the votes have been counted.

Wednesday, 4th May 2022, 4:55 am
Former Scotland rugby international Norrie Rowan is standing as an independent in the Edinburgh Council elections
Former Scotland rugby international Norrie Rowan is standing as an independent in the Edinburgh Council elections

This has not deterred one such candidate, however, as he seeks election as a councillor in the City Centre ward. Step forward Norrie Rowan, former Scotland rugby international and city centre businessman.

Norrie was capped 13 times for his country and enjoyed a playing career which also spanned 17 seasons with Boroughmuir RFC. He currently owns three hospitality venues in the Cowgate and, after criticising many council policies over the years, he has decided to put his money where his mouth is and stand for election.

He has several beefs with the current administration, not least of which is the apparent ignoring of consultation exercises if it does not conform to the council’s pre-conceived view of matters.

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He told me that one of his first actions, if elected, would be to table a motion to the effect that consultation exercises’ conclusions should be respected and acted upon.

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In a similar vein, another of his beefs is the establishment of a drop-in centre in Blackfriars Street that he said went ahead without any consultation at all with local stakeholders.

And that’s not all, communal bins in the New Town, potholes, inadequately repaired streets and the excessive number of parking permits issued versus parking spots available all come in for their fair share of disapproval.

Norrie is “weel-kent face” around the city streets and although he may be resented in some quarters for his sometimes controversial views, no one can possibly deny that his thirst for promoting Edinburgh is unquenchable.

He told me that, as a magnet for tourism, the Old Town has been allowed to deteriorate to the extent that in some cases it has become an eyesore.

Known for his tenacity and never say die attitude on the rugby field, he knows that the cards may be stacked against him. But if he does not succeed in his goal of becoming a city councillor, it won’t be for the want of trying! As Norrie himself puts it – stranger things have happened!