A changing of the guard as new council trio elected in Fife ward

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It was all change in Burntisland and Kinghorn as voters opted for three brand new councillors.

And the ward, which also covers western Kirkcaldy, is now represented by three different parties – SNP, Labour and the Tories.

George Kay’s retiral opened the door to at least one change, but the ward was turned upside down.

Out went long-serving Lib Dem councillor Susan Leslie, along with Peter George, the former Labour councillor who stood as an independent.

Stuart McPhail’s move from Kirkcaldy East into the ward to replace Councillor Kay also ended in defeat.

The changing of the guard saw Lesley Backhouse win for the SNP, and she was elected along with Kathleen Leslie (Tories) and Gordon Langlands (Labour).

Cllr Backhouse, an SNP member for over 30 years, said she was “delighted” with the result.

She lives and works in Burntisland as a childminder as well as a tutor and supervisor for the local breastfeeding network .

One of her main priorities is to tackle the ongoing problem of poor access to the town’s railway platform.

She said: “Going south it’s fine, but the other platform is terrible to get to. It’s gone on too long.”

For Susan Leslie, the count brought the curtain down on her tenure as a councillor after a decade of service.

But she said it was also a “huge weight’’ off her, and she will be able to concentrate on her one job as a part-time lecturer with the University of Dundee.

She said: “We went into this already knowing that the voting was going to be different. A lot of people were very cagey about saying how they were going to vote.

“Our voters still came out, but, for many, it was an anti SNP and independence vote that went to the Conservatives. People voted on a national stance in a local election, and I think that is bad for local politics.

“But, I have thoroughly enjoyed my time on the council and some of the most rewarding things have been the people and groups I have met.”

She said working with George Kay on the new Burntisland Primary School and improvements to the Seafield beach area were among her highlights, but said the most rewarding for her had been working with the Kinship Carers group and their children.

“I am lucky because I am involved in Raith Rotary Club which was the other party supporting the Kinship Carers. That’s something I will continue to be involved with,” she added.

Meanwhile, new Tory councillor, Kathleen Leslie, basked in topping the first preference votes.

“Conversations on the doorsteps were very positive throughout canvassing, but I’ll be the first to admit the size of the victory was unexpected,” she said.

“I now want to take the two pronged approach of both national and local issues, that resonated with so many voters forward.”

Among the immediate issues Cllr Leslie wants to tackle are improvements to both Burntisland and Kinghorn train stations, specially for those with disabilities, young families and the elderly.