May 6, 2022 11.07 am

Local elections 2022: Conservatives’ majority chipped away in North East Lincolnshire

The party say voters still back their agenda

By Local Democracy Reporter

Conservatives have claimed victory in North East Lincolnshire Council elections but Labour say they’ve been ‘put on notice’.

The three major parties have all claimed some form of victory after the results were counted, which left Conservatives as the biggest party.

They say voters have endorsed their ambitious regeneration plans for the area.

However Labour, who picked up Heneage ward, claim Tories have been told the public aren’t happy and want to win voters’ trust back.

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats held onto the East Marsh seats and hope to build on their success next year.

Independent Steve Holland caused the biggest shock of the night as he unseated cabinet member Callum Procter, in a campaign centred around protecting the Freshney Valley from development.

The election leaves 30 Conservative councillors, eight Labour, three Liberal Democrats and one Independent.

Philip Jackson, leader of the NEL Conservatives. | Picture: Calvin Robinson.

Council leader Philip Jackson said: “I would like to thank the people of North East Lincolnshire for putting their trust in Conservatives and re-electing them to the vast majority of seats.

“Unfortunately, we did lose one seat to Labour, but given we are 12 years into a Conservative government, there is no evidence of them making a major comeback. These are fairly disastrous results for them.

“We are also disappointed to have lost the Freshney ward due to the local issue of the Grimsby West relief road. We have already made clear that we won’t be rebidding for Levelling Up Funding for it, and will be carrying out a review of housing in our local plan soon.

“We have made good progress over our three years in control of the council, and there is always more to do. We have ambitious plans for regenerating Grimsby town centre and realising the Cleethorpes masterplan. There is still a lot of work to be done with children’s services, and ensuring people have the skills to take advantage of new jobs being created in the renewable energy sector.”

Councillor Matthew Patrick, Labour group leader on North East Lincolnshire Council, at a previous election count | Picture: Calvin Robinson

Labour also cast the results in an optimistic light, with this marking the first time in several years that they have come out ahead on seats.

Party leader Matthew Patrick said: “We are satisfied overall – we held onto all the seats and had a smashing victory in Heneage where there was a hard-fought campaign.

“We have slashed the Tories’ majorities in a lot of seats which we will be targeting in the future.

“Conservatives have been put on notice that the people of North East Lincolnshire aren’t happy.

“The cost of living has certainly been a massive issue as people face huge bills for heating and eating.

“But overall we found that apathy was a big challenge – voters didn’t believe that any of the main political parties had the credibility to lead. We need to regain that trust and remind them that the Labour Party is on their side.”

The Say No to Grimsby West campaign caused an upset in Freshney ward

Liberal Democrats took both open East Marsh seats. Party leader Steve Beasant, who will mark 20 years on the council next year, retained his seat, while Lynsey McLean took the vacant one.

“Some people expected that we would win the East Marsh, but we never take it for granted,” Mr Beasant said.

“I believe in working all year round to repay the community for their support.

“We ran well in three other wards where we stood – Park, Heneage and Wolds – and we have a good chance of winning them next time.

“Residents don’t want to see councillors slagging each other off in the chamber – they care about what results you deliver for them.

“That’s why I was up at 6am in Grant Thorold Park for a community garden, and why East Marsh councillors are always on litter picks. It is thanks to resident’s support that we have been able to do so much for the area.”

He added: “Lynsey Mclean is a really good new councillor. She was a former council social worker, so she will be able to challenge the council on their social care programme.”

However, turnout for the elections was a disappointing 25%, meaning just one in four eligible voters went to polling stations.