WEE COUNTY residents will go to the polls again next week for a by-election for the Clackmannanshire East ward.

There are five hopefuls for the seat, which covers Clackmannan, Dollar and Muckhart, with the vote to take place on Thursday, March 19.

Polling stations will open across Clacks at 7am on the day and will remain open until 10pm.

Former Clacks councillor John Biggam is the Liberal Democrat candidate and he is keen to be an independent voice of the people.

He said: "I think it's important we have a fresh voice – a liberal voice – on the council because the other parties, the SNP and Labour, have been there for quite a long time and they end up getting in groups.

"I think it needs somebody who isn't a member of one of the blocks on the council to be there to actually have an independent voice for the people."

He added: "Green issues should be at the forefront of council policies and we've got to make sure everything is sustainable for the future, not just the present."

Denis Coyne, the Conservative candidate, has spent his life working with small businesses and he believes they are of the utmost importance to the area.

He said: "I know how important small businesses are to the economy in any area, region or country and I think that's no less true of Clackmannanshire so I want to focus on assisting small businesses if there's any way I can do that to grow and be stronger."

He added: "I think one of the good things we have in the council is three-way working, where the Conservative group, Labour and the SNP are working together much more than has been done in the past.

"I think one of the ways for that to continue is for a Conservative seat to remain a Conservative seat."

Labour have selected Carolynne Hunter, who has a background as a carer.

She said: "I have lived experience of a wide variety of public services in the community. I know how difficult it is sometimes for public services to provide the support people need so I would like to push for those services, housing, health and social care.

"I want to look after the community and make it a better community.

"Isolation causes mental health issues and depression so I want to try and make people feel part of society."

SNP candidate Stephen Leitch joined the party after the referendum in 2014 and wants to be as active across Clacks as he has been in Dollar.

He said: "I'm quite aware of a number of issues each of the communities are experiencing, some which are common to both, for example the various developments proposed for Dollar and those underway in Clackmannan are causing angst for some people.

"There's a lot of changes the administration have made which are perhaps necessary but could have been implemented more sympathetically.

"I want to work with the officers and administration to make sure whatever services have to be delivered are delivered in a way that doesn't negatively impact the people of Clackmannanshire East."

Marion Robertson, the Green candidate, aims to help Clacks to realise its potential.

She said: "I feel that the Wee County has great potential but there are many parts that are forgotten, including Clackmannan village.

"The Green Party are very keen on public transport and I think that could be the golden thread that ties that potential together.

"We cannot afford to have any more traffic on our roads, the congestion and the pollution have got to the point where people can see it for themselves and they don't think it's sustainable and we thoroughly agree with that as Greens."

For more information on next week's by-election, contact elections@clacks.gov.uk or call 01259 450 000.