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Conservative Timothy Billings has been elected as the sole councillor representing Arran on North Ayrshire Council (NAC) following last week’s election.
Councillor Billings was elected after receiving 788 preferred votes during last Thursday’s elections which saw 60.3 per cent of the Arran population taking part in the polls.
Using the single transferable vote system, which allows voters to rank their candidates according to preference, Timothy Billings, Conservative, received the most preferred votes; Steve Garraway, SNP, received 625; Aaran McDonald, Labour, 243, Ellen McMaster, Independent, 229; Ronna Park, Green Party, 241; and Tom Young, Independent, 305.
Councillor Billings will be the first single Arran representative since the Arran ward was reduced from three councillors to one and he has pledged to carry on with his work as diligently as before, serving the people of Arran, regardless of party affiliation.
Councillor Billings told the Arran Banner: ‘I am delighted and honoured to be elected as Arran’s representative on North Ayrshire Council. Last week was an intense few days and I thank everyone who has given me their support. With the election past, I am the North Ayrshire Council representative for everyone on Arran, whether they voted for me or not. My election message was clear – Local Action on Local Issues – and I fully intend to bring that slogan to life over the next five years.
‘When I was first elected five years ago, I learned that to be an effective councillor I needed to be visible so people know what I am up to and how to get in touch. I will respond promptly to all enquiries from constituents, be proactive about speaking up and promoting Arran and involve individuals, groups and businesses in everything that I do.
‘Using these principles, I have had some significant achievements over the last five years. At every meeting of North Ayrshire Council I have raised motions, asked questions and joined in debates on a range of topics including the ferry, firework control, finance and budgets, social care, short-term lets and land use. Two significant successes were the reduction of council tax on empty homes whilst they are being brought back into use and setting NAC policy on the control of bottom trawling and dredging that allows sea beds to re-establish themselves.
‘I sat on a number of NAC committees, including planning, the health and social care board and KA Leisure,and used opportunities to put forward the Arran perspective.
‘But the largest workload was supporting the hundreds of people who came to me wit council and non-council issues. In every case, I helped find some resolution to the issues.’
When asked what his immediate priorities are, Councillor Billings said: ‘ To re-define North Ayrshire’s governance arrangements on Arran. Now that Arran is a single councillor ward, the constitution of the Arran Locality Partnership (ALP) needs to change and I want to re-establish links from the ALP to Arran Community Council.
‘Another priority is to establish an island plan steering group so that work can start on achieving the objectives set out in the recently published Arran Local Island Plan.
‘The actions in the plan were set after consultation with Arran residents. This is a significant opportunity to get real change on issues that matter to us on Arran. It will be an exciting and challenging few years and I look forward to working with as many of you as possible.’
Following the elections, NAC, which is made up of nine wards, now consists of the following number of councillors: Scottish National Party, 12; Conservatives, 10; Scottish Labour, 9; and Independent 2.
Over the following weeks, there will be a statutory meeting of NAC to decide if the biggest party plans to run the council on its own or if they will seek support from others to push more things through.
The statutory meeting will include decisions about the council administration, the election of Provost and who sits on various committees. Councillor Billings has already made it clear he would like to continue his involvement with planning.
Whatever happens over the following weeks, Councillor Billings has reasserted his willingness to work for Arran residents and to represent their interests. ‘I am always ready to speak to anyone about any Arran or council issue,’ he said. ‘Feel free to get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 07976 657618.’
Timothy Billings has been elected as the sole councillor representing Arran on North Ayrshire Council. No_B19councillor01