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Council / Second council by-election after Burgess steps down

Councillors approved the refreshed policy at the Lerwick Town Hall on Monday. Photo: Shetland NewsLerwick Town Hall.

THERE WILL be two upcoming Shetland Islands Council by-elections after central member Mark Burgess submitted his resignation as councillor.

Mark Burgess.

It comes after Lerwick South member Beatrice Wishart stood down after being elected as Shetland’s MSP in August.

If either ward is contested then polling will take place on Thursday 7 November.

Burgess, from Scalloway, was first elected as councillor in 2012 before being re-elected five years later.

He said he was leaving the council for personal reasons.

“My first five years in the council were demanding but rewarding and I look back on them without regret and with an appreciation of all that was collectively achieved, especially with the schools, harbours and new Eric Gray Centre,” Burgess said.

“However, in more recent times and in changing circumstance I have found it more difficult to contribute to the role as much as I would wish to. Personally, I had a particular interest in seeing the ReCreate Scalloway process to the end and a new fish market under way and with both these matters in hand, I feel it is now appropriate to step aside from the elected role and put priority on my own personal interests for a time.

“The departure of Councillor Wishart to the Scottish Parliament has triggered a by-election that provides an opportunity for me to do this now.”

Burgess said locally he is “not going anywhere” and will continue his work with Scalloway Community Council and his other voluntary roles.

“I’ve learned a great deal through my time in the council and the experience has been a worthwhile one and I may well consider running for the council again in future,” he added.

“I wish to thank my constituents and the valued friends I have made within the council for their support over the years.”

Shetland Islands Council leader Steven Coutts said: “As well as the wider business of the council, Mark Burgess has supported a number of key local projects including the ‘Re-create Scalloway’ initiative and the new Scalloway fish market.

“I have valued Mark’s thoughts on all matters Shetland and I’ve appreciated this desire to see Shetland thrive. On behalf of the council, I would like to thank him for his contribution to the council for the last seven years, and for his dedication to constituents in the Shetland Central ward. We wish him well for the future.”

Candidates are now invited to put themselves forward for election for the two wards.

Nomination forms can be found online at www.shetland.gov.uk/elections or from the election office at Shetland Islands Council, 8 North Ness, Lerwick, Shetland, ZE1 0LZ.

The office is open for the issue and delivery of nomination papers on weekdays from Monday 23 September 2019, between 10am and 4pm. Completed nomination forms must be delivered to the returning officer at the above address by 4pm on Monday 7 October 2019.

There are a total of 22 councillors elected to serve the seven wards in the Shetland Islands area.