New council chairman looks ahead

Raymond Christie, the new chairman of Stonehaven and District Community Council
Raymond Christie, the new chairman of Stonehaven and District Community Council

Chairman Raymond Christie also wants to stimulate interest in the town ahead of next year’s community council elections.

Mr Christie replaced Phil Mills-Bishop at the helm last week.

He was voted in 8-7 at the council’s annual general meeting.

Mr Mills-Bishop, who was chairman for two years, said he would continue as a community council member for now.

His successor is a former community council chairman and also served as a councillor for Stonehaven and Lower Deeside until last year’s local government elections.

Mr Christie told the Leader he is looking forward to the challenge of leading the council, in particular ensuring it has a secure future.

He said: “Next May there will be an election for community councillors.

“I want to stimulate interest in Stonehaven so that more people come forward next year so there can be an election.

“I want people to be interested in whatever we are doing.”

The new chairman wants to see more people coming along to the monthly community council meetings, particularly younger members of the local community.

He hopes this will help to get them involved with a view to next year’s community elections.

Mr Christie is keen to develop a better relationship with Aberdeenshire Council.

He explained: “The council can’t help the cuts coming down the road from Westminster, but what they can do is ameliorate them in some way, be it roads or health or other areas.

“What I would hope is that there will be a bit of give and take.”

Mr Christie said there were a number of areas in which the community council could work more closely with Stonehaven Town Partnership (STP).

He added: “Anything they want to do that helps the town, we will support them.”

STP chairman Jim Stephen said they looked forward to working with him.

Mr Stephen told the Leader: “The town is facing some important challenges ahead including improvements to the town centre, local schools, leisure facilities and additional retail development in the town.

“As a previous local councillor, Raymond’s experience will be invaluable in building an effective partnership with Aberdeenshire Council and bringing the key stakeholder groups in Stonehaven together to tackle these challenges on behalf of the local community.”

Meanwhile, Mr Mills-Bishop said he was proud of what he had achieved as chairman, adding “with two motions of support and commemoration from the Scottish Parliament for the work on defibrillators and twinning with Acheres - done at a time of internal and external pressures.”

The former chairman said he was now focusing on the visit to Stonehaven next month by the Mayor of Acheres, Marc Honore, and a delegation to conclude the agreement signed in the Paris suburb last month.

As co-ordinator of the newly-formed Stonehaven Twinning Group, he confirmed that it will expand twinning links.

Mr Mills-Bishop has already been contacted by Grosskrotzenburg in Germany and Amarante in Portugal about developing future partnerships.