LOCAL DEMOCRACY: Last call for community councils

Villages in Skye and Lochalsh which remain unrepresented by a community council will have a final chance to put people forward for election this month.

Glendale, Portree, Sleat and Waternish on Skye, along with Dornie and District, and Stromeferry and Achmore in Lochalsh, all failed to form a community council in the autumn 2023 elections.

They are among 30 places across the Highland Council area which did not manage to establish community councils, in the main because of a lack of interest from local residents.

However, Highland Council say that in a last push to reform those community councils, a Notice of Election will go live on Monday 15th January.

People living in the unrepresented communities will then have until midday on Tuesday 30th January 2024 to put themselves forward.

Community councils are voluntary organisations that express the views and concerns of local people within their area across a wide range of issues from planning applications and roads to local services and facilities.

In a bid to encourage more people to consider sitting on them, the Highland Council has produced an online digital toolkit with lots of helpful information and has also posted a short video on its website.

Last month, the Free Press reported how one of the Highlands’ longest-serving community councillors, Helen Murchison from Lochcarron, believed many community councils were now merely “going through the motions” because Highland Council had no money to address the local issues they raised. 

However Mrs Murchison, who has over 50 years’ experience, said community councils were still very important and provided “a vital level of local democracy”. 

Article by Jackie MacKenzie