The by-election in the Leith Walk ward is being held following the resignation of Marion Donaldson. The SNP will be looking to win to tie with the Conservatives as the biggest political group at City Chambers. Two years ago, the Greens received the highest number of first preference votes for their one candidate.
A hustings, organised by Save Leith Walk last month, highlighted problems with short term lets, lack of housing and cuts to public services as concerns to residents. Extending the tramline down Leith Walk to Newhaven was opposed by Conservatives and Liberal Democrats and supported by Labour, the Greens and SNP.
Voters will rank candidates in order of preference. As well as candidates for the parties that already have councillors on the authority, Steven Alexander is standing for UKIP, Kevin Illingworth and John Scott are standing as independents, David Jacobson is the Scottish Socialist Labour Party candidate and Tom Laird is seeking election for the Scottish Libertarian Party. Paul Stirling is standing for the For Britain Movement.
Jack Caldwell (Lib Dem)
Leith Walk needs proper investment to improve public pavements, cycle-lanes and roads, and smarter roadwork management. Residents should be able to travel without learning our bus stops have moved again.
Inequality is at totally unacceptable levels. My priority will be to ensure community services receive proper funding. I will demand quality, sustainable, accessible and integrated social-rent housing for the ward. We must also fight to reverse £512k cuts to community policing.
The bins and collections are a mess: more recycling bins and regular collections are required.
I love Leith Walk. I live, work, and volunteer here. It’s my home.
Nick Gardner (Labour)
I’ve seen Edinburgh in times of plenty and times of hardship.
Local councillors can make a huge difference to their local communities. That’s what gets most of us out of bed in the morning.
We can make a difference to schools, parks and green spaces, housing – even bins! And we can work with local people to stand up for our area. Even when we face governments that think they know better than local people.
I’ll always fight to keep council services locally owned and run, and challenge outside control and cuts to Leith from Governments of all and any stripe.
Dan McCroskrie (Conservative)
During this by-election, it has been made clear to me that voters are fed up of the current SNP/Labour run council and want to see a change of direction, and a fresh face.
People are angry about the state of the roads, graffiti and overflowing bins. But they are also concerned about the chaos that the proposed tram extension will cause. At around £93m per mile, this money would be better spent fixing our school buildings and investing in health and social care. As a local resident, I will work hard for local people if elected to the city council this Thursday.
Rob Munn (SNP)
Rob Munn will provide a strong voice for the Leith Walk ward. He is experienced and passionate about the area. He will work hard to make sure the priorities of Leith Walk are heard and are addressed.
He wants to give the community a stronger voice on planning and development matters. He will support regulation on AirBnB properties in the area. He will support more affordable housing for Leith Walk. Rob lives in Leith and will be a strong responsive councillor for Leith Walk.
Lorna Slater (Green)
Thursday is about electing the best local councillor. My priorities of affordable housing; safe, high quality public transport; and protection of green spaces and community facilities have a lot of support in the area.
I’ll be able to push them much harder than another SNP or Labour councillor forced to toe the line in the parties which already run the council. But the election is also about what councillors stand for and I’m proud to be an energy engineer working to tackle climate change and a passionate pro-European who believes in an open, welcoming Scotland.