Local Elections 2022

By Local Democracy Reporter

An independent candidate who caused a major election upset says his victory is grassroots democracy in action.

Steve Holland campaigned strongly against plans for thousands of homes and a relief road in the Freshney ward near Grimsby.

He was able to defeat cabinet member Callum Procter in the safe Conservative seat.

Backed by the Friends of the Freshney Valley group, he is determined to make residents’ voices heard on North East Lincolnshire Council.

“I was getting support from people who were lifelong Labour or Conservative voters, and also people who had never voted before and didn’t know where their polling station was,” Mr Holland said after his surprise victory.

“Everywhere we went, people said they were ready to see an independent candidate. So we knew it was going to be close, but we thought we might not quite make it.

“My main priority will be making clear that the plans for 4,000 homes in the area aren’t wanted and aren’t needed. I want to build a consensus that these shouldn’t go ahead.

The Friends of the Freshney Valley protest protest against housing and road plans outside Grimsby town hall | Photo: Jamie Waller.

“People feel very strongly about it. The Friends of the Freshney Valley Facebook group has 2,000 members – but we didn’t know whether that would translate to winning an election.

“The Facebook group was absolutely buzzing this morning because we had won. That’s grassroots democracy for you – it would never happen for a normal politician.”

The Freshney Valley group has held protests for months outside council meetings in Grimsby town hall.

While the housing plans are still being considered, North East Lincolnshire Council says it won’t apply for any more government funding for the relief road. Housing schemes will also be re-examined as the local plan is updated this year.

Mr Holland is also keen to stop what he says is the “decline and decay of the town centre”.

He has promised to make himself available to all residents and ensure they can contact him.

He says lack of faith in the main parties could also explain why voters were ready to back an independent candidate.

“People have definitely lost trust in politicians at the top, and there’s a lot of cynicism on a national level,” he said.

“We expect our leaders to have integrity. When you win, you can’t afford to lose people’s trust.”

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.

By Local Democracy Reporter

The voters have spoken – but what exactly have they said?

Labour have remained in control of the City of Lincoln Council after the local elections, despite losing a seat to Liberal Democrats.

The Conservative party has also kept a comfortable grip on North East Lincolnshire Council, although two seats down.

You could be forgiven for thinking not much has changed, but there have been several surprising results across Lincolnshire and beyond.

The elections came in the wake of the government’s Partygate scandal and the rising cost of living crisis, with voters often taking their frustrations out on the party in Number 10.

Here are some of the biggest highlights from last night’s elections.

Big win for Liberal Democrats

Martin Christopher takes a seat for the Liberal Democrats | Photo: Steve Smailes for the Lincolnite

The Liberal Democrats won their second councillor in a landslide in Abbey ward.

Martin Christopher took well over half of the votes, displacing former Labour councillor Bill Bilton.

He won 1,220 out of a total 1,946 cast, with Conservatives bringing up a distant third.

This is the second year running the Lib Dems have managed to take a seat in Abbey ward – will they make it a hat-trick?

Labour take Minster ward

It wasn’t all bad news for the Labour Party | Photo: Steve Smailes for the Lincolnite

A party that’s in power fears a steady chipping away of its councillors until it eventually loses control.

Labour managed to put that off with a win in Minster ward, with Joshua Wells taking the seat from Christopher Reid.

There had been rumours Conservatives were concerned about the seat, and rightly so. The resources they put into campaigning there weren’t enough to stop Councillor Wells winning by around 200 votes.

The race certainly got out the vote however – it had the highest turnout rate of any Lincoln race with 35%.

Independent makes stand for Freshney Valley

North East Lincolnshire’s biggest upset of the night saw an Independent topple a Cabinet member.

Steve Holland successfully challenged Conservative Callum Procter.

His campaign had centred around residents’ efforts to stop future developments in the area, with the Save The Freshney Valley group throwing their support behind him.

The group proudly announced on Facebook ‘history has been made’ after his victory.

Labour hold off challenges in Glebe

Just a handful of votes separated first and second in last year’s contest in Lincoln Glebe ward.

Council leader Ric Metcalfe had a majority of only 27 votes.

The Local Democracy Service heard how the cost of living and anti-social behaviour were some of the top priorities in the swing seat.

However, this year’s race proved not to be as close as Labour might have feared.

With another of the ward’s three seats up for grabs, Patrick Vaughan came first with 581 votes, with Conservatives’ Jeannette Pavey bringing up second with 413.

Hull City Council changes hands

Across the Humber, Liberal Democrats took control of Hull City Council after Labour had been in charge for 11 years.

Mike Ross will replace Darren Hale as council leader.

The party have a slim majority with 29 seats to Labour’s 27, with one Independent.

This is the moment Liberal Democrats secured their control of the council.

Rutland council leader quits Conservatives

Despite there not being an election in Rutland, the county council leader delivered a surprise by leaving his party.

Oliver Hemsley said he would stand as an Independent rather than a Conservative.

He blamed Boris Johnson for ignoring Rutland, and said inequalities in the area had been ‘compounded year-on-year’.

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