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Gillian Coghill - Independent - Thurso and North West Caithness

7th April 2017

Photograph of Gillian Coghill - Independent - Thurso and North West Caithness

I have decided to seek re - election in Thurso and North West Caithness as an Independent candidate as I feel that I do not want to be shackled by the dictate of a political party. Local communities need their voices heard and as an Independent I can do this.

We are in changing and challenging times. I do not believe the way forward is centralisation. There are real dangers that can arise around this as has been highlighted with the fire brigade and the police service. We are a unique group of people living in a vast area that makes up the Highlands. Caithness has complex and varied needs that cannot be addressed by a one size fits all policy. Localism led from the bottom up is what we need. People on the ground taking charge of their own communities and us as councillors facilitating these changes.

HEALTH ....I believe it is vital that our local hospitals function at safe levels. We must also press for first class, safe and adequate care within the community for our ageing population.

EDUCATION ....I strongly believe in giving our children the best possible start in life no matter where they live. The youth of today are our future.

DEPRIVATION. ...As an area with high levels of this it is important we actively enable people to get out of this cycle with support, encouraging them to achieve more positive outcomes.

EMPLOYMENT. ...We must facilitate growth in this sector by encouraging business to come to the Highlands and also to grow our own workforce. We need to strike a balance with fairer business rates that don't strangle business owners.

TRANSPORT. ..we need to encourage better transport links so we can move freely with public transport, not everyone in the area drives or owns a car.

ROADS .....Roads in our area are a vital lifeline for the whole community and businesses. We must invest in them by repairing and upgrading them as and when money is available.

FUEL POVERTY. ...We need to address this and help support people in areas where they do not have a choice of heating ensuring that it is also fit for purpose and affordable.

HOUSING...good quality and affordable housing stock is important for the families living in and locating to the area.

TOURISM. ..This is an area that is going from strength to strength and we need to harness this with much more self - promotion. Caithness is a truly beautiful place to live, work and visit. We should be letting the world know how great Caithness is.

All of the above must be addressed at a local level. Local people know what works best in their own area. As councillors we have to be prepared to listen, and then act upon what folk want.

Common sense, practicality and an open sympathetic mind are paramount in this job.

I know I can build on the hard work and results I have achieved in the last four years for this community.

I know I can be a voice for my community at all levels.

All I ask is that the community now vote for me in the forthcoming election to allow me to show them, I can be the voice they truly need.

Gillian Coghill

Balnahard Farm, Harpsdale, Halkirk

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