Friday, 1 January 2016

New Year's Message

I would like to wish all the people of Grange-de-Lings, Nettleham and Riseholme, the people that I am pleased to represent on West Lindsey District Council, my best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2016.

Edinburgh, Scotland
In January I was pleased to represent the district council at the Association of Public Service Excellence's (APSE) Annual General Meeting in Edinburgh. Despite having written my dissertation at university on devolution of the Scottish Parliament, this was my first visit to Scotland, and post the independence referendum of the preceding autumn, it was with a renewed sense of pride that I arrived in the capitol of this part of the United Kingdom.

By February the processes for both local and general elections were well underway. Having been appointed by Sir Edward Leigh and the Gainsborough Constituency Conservative Association to be Agent for their campaigns I found myself particularly busy running a parliamentary campaign, and thrity-seven district council candidates - including myself - in elections. Fortunately the alignment of general and district elections being held on the same day will not happen again until 2035.

Above: Giles McNeill enters the polling
 station at the Old School, Mill Hill,
Nettleham
It was, on a personal level, my highlight of the year that I was re-elected as a district councillor. I was proud to top the poll with 54.5% of those who voted backing me. It was the first time that a Conservative had topped a poll in a district council, local election for our area since 1979. I am particularly grateful to so many people who supported me, helping me secure re-election as one of the Nettleham ward's two district councillors. I will continue to work hard for all residents.

Local government continues to face a tough financial settlement with central government and your local councillors are very much on the front-line. West Lindsey is well placed to adapt to the changes that reducing monies from central government will necessitate. But it means that we are having to make genuinely difficult choices about what services stay and what services have to go. I do not envy colleagues who are less well placed. County Councillors are consistently and continually criticised for cutting services; yet it is a triumph, albeit not necessarily one of their own making, that there will be more libraries open in Lincolnshire, for longer periods, than three years ago. Nevertheless with responsibilities to an ageing population the county council must choose to provide services to the vulnerable and elderly, fulfilling statutory responsibilities.

I was very pleased to be offered the opportunity to continue my service as Chairman of the Governance and Audit Committee by the Council's Leader, Cllr. Jeff Summers and also to continue in the role as the administration's Chief Whip.

In October I had the good fortune to have lunch with the Prime Minister, David Cameron MP, and we spoke in congratulatory tones on the successes of the election campaign.

Above: (Left to Right) Nettleham Parish
Councillors Joe Siddall, John Evans and
Terry Williams present the Nettleham
Neighbourhood Plan to West Lindsey
District Councillors Steve England and
Giles McNeill.
I was pleased with the progress that has been made in tackling issues in the district council's planning department. As a member of the Planning Committee and a Nettleham Parish Councillor I have been engaged in and followed the process of the emerging Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan. On Thursday, 28th January 2016 local residents will be able to have their say on the plan in a referendum. Then in May we will once again be invited to go to the polling stations to vote in elections for the county's Police and Crime Commissioner. I am certain that participation will be higher than the paltry 15.3% achieved in the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections. Decisions are made by those who show up, so I would encourage everyone to go and vote and if circumstances require I would urge you to consider if obtaining a postal vote is the right thing for you. I am backing Marc Jones for the post as he has the passion and vision to really move Lincolnshire Police forward, unlike the lack-lustre, poor performance of the current incumbent, widely expected to retire at the election.

In 2016 I hope we can renew our commitment to make our communities better, putting aside partisan tendencies, and working with one another on the many things we agree upon. For each and all I offer my sincere wish for health, prosperity and happiness.

Giles McNeill
Working hard for the Nettleham Ward

Friday, 5 June 2015

Neighbourhood Plan Sets Out Aspirations for the Future of Nettleham

Residents in Nettleham have officially submitted its Neighbourhood Plan to West Lindsey District Council.

The much anticipated plan which has taken three years to create sets out the future housing requirements as well as identifying sites suitable for development.

It’s the first in West Lindsey to consider environmental impact and to allocate sites accordingly. Environmental specialists who live and work within the community were also consulted.

John Evans, chair of the Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan Steering Committee thanked the committee for working hard on the plan and said it felt fantastic to hand it the district council. He said:
“The overall theme of the plan makes sure any new developments fit with the character of Nettleham. People in the village are very passionate about the place they live and we’ve been very impressed with the response.”
The committee has included policies about open space, design, affordable housing and infrastructure.

Key recommendations include:
  • That a green wedge of land between the village and Lincoln remains,
  • Development is of a sustainable nature 
  • A number of small developments are in place in order to gradually integrate newcomers
West Lindsey will now look at the plan before sending it on to an independent inspector to be examined. Once the plan is adopted it will form part of the planning consideration for the village when determining future planning applications.

Now it’s time for residents to have their say on the plan.

West Lindsey District Cllr Giles McNeill, who represents Nettleham praised those that people that have dedicated their time to the plan. He added:
“Now is the time for residents, particularly those who don’t necessarily live in Nettleham, perhaps in neighbouring parishes, to have their say.”
There are currently nine neighbourhood plans underway in West Lindsey. The district council is encouraging other communities to get involved in the process.

Neighbourhood plan champion at the district council, Cllr Steve England said:
“Neighbourhood Plans are extremely important and it’s great to see West Lindsey support them.
“There’s been ideas shared with the Welton Neighbourhood plan alongside this work and this collaboration has made sure of its success. It’s also had the support of the Department for Communities and Local Government which is ideal in progressing plans forward.”
The Nettleham Neighbourhood Plan will be available for public comment from Friday 5th June until Friday 17th July 2015. If people wish make comments on the proposed plan, then they can by visiting www.west-lindsey.gov.uk and searching for Neighbourhood Plans.  Alternatively, they can email luke.brown@west-lindsey.gov.uk for a copy of the document and response form.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Nettleham Parish Council Elected

The twelve members of Nettleham Parish Council have been elected following a contested election on Thursday, 7th May 2015. The count took place at the West Lindsey Leisure Centre, Gainsborough on Saturday, 9th May 2015 following the general and district council election counts.

The result of the election is as follows:
  • 6th - Janice Clayton* 1,013 Elected
  • 8th - John Downs* (Company Director) 935 Elected
  • 7th - John Evans* 936 Elected
  • 11th - Susan Harland* 774 Elected
  • 3rd - John Hill* (Chartered Engineer) 1,037 Elected
  • 2nd - Malcolm Leaning* (Retired) 1095 Elected
  • 5th - Giles McNeill* 1,029 Elected
  • 13th - Peter McNeill 617
  • 14th - Richard Porter* 54
  • 10th - Roger Sharp 829 Elected
  • 12th - Joseph Siddall* 711 Elected
  • 9th - Michael Spencer* 880 Elected
  • 1st - Angela White (Independent) 1,155 Elected
  • 4th - Terry Williams* (Environmental Lawyer (Rtd)) 1,040 Elected
*Seeking re-election to the parish council.

Two ballot papers were rejected because more candidates were voted for than permitted. One hundred and seventeen were rejected being unmarked or wholly void for uncertainty.

There was an electorate of 3,053 within the parish of Nettleham. 2,156 ballot papers were issued. Turnout was 70.62%

Sunday, 3 May 2015

'Shock and Anger' As Labour Council Candidate is Convicted of £100,000 Fraud

Labour Parliamentary Candidate for the Gainsborough Constituency, David Prescott (son of former Deputy Prime Minister John (now Lord) Prescott), has taken to twitter to distance himself, and party leader Ed Miliband, from a convicted fraudsters' standing as a Labour Council Candidate.
Above: David Prescott (Labour Parliamentary Candidate
for Gainsborough), Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband and
Ms Charmaine Bowers, Labour Party Candidate for the
Gainsborough North Ward

Mr. Prescott tweeted:
"I'm shocked & angry one of our council candidates has pleaded guilty to fraud. She has been suspended by the party."
The Grimsby Telegraph reported yesterday that Labour District Council Candidate Ms Charmaine Bowers, of Laceby Road, Grimsby and her mother Mrs. Tina Bowers, both pleaded guilty at Plymouth Crown Court to six counts of fraud by false representation and has been jailed for a festival ticket fraud involving more than £100,000.

Prosecutor Andrew Maitland said the pair, who came from Tavistock but now lived in Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, were involved in the "sophisticated" fraud between December 2012 and July 2013.

He said Charmaine had falsely claimed on a Facebook page she modelled for Nuts magazine and had access to promotional tickets. He said she had also claimed to earn £8,000 per month modelling for Dior and MAC cosmetics. He said:
"This was a carefully constructed fraud" and the former Face of Plymouth contestant "presented herself in this glamorous life".
Mr Maitland said records seized by detectives found there were "at least 311" people who paid up-front for a unique entrance wristband and confirmation slip.

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Lib Dem District Councillor Defects to Labour

Councillor Mark Binns, who was elected in a by-election in mid February 2013 as a Liberal Democrat, has choosen to defect to the Labour Party in the final few days of campaigning before the General and Local Elections - which will see him retire as a District Councillor.

Above: Labour Parliamentary Candidate for
Gainsborough, David Prescott, with Cllr. Mark
Binns (Gainsborough East Ward).
Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Gainsborough, David Prescott, said he was:
"Proud to welcome West Lindsey Lib Dem Councillor Mark Binns to the Labour Party."
Leader of the Labour Group on West Lindsey District Council, Cllr. Nigel Bowler (Gainsborough North) confirmed his defection simply saying:
"Yes he has."
Liberal Democrat Agent, Cllr. David Cotton (Saxilby), said:
"Mark Binns has had a leave of absence and is not standing for the District Council. I am not aware that anyone knew or had any prior knowledge of his moving to Labour.
"To be honest I think this is a non event and if the best that [Labour] can achieve in a defection it's not a great story or event."
However Cllr. Binns came in for criticism from a number of sources, noting his alleged poor health, his track record of attendance at both Gainsborough Town and West Lindsey District Councils since his election had been exceptionally low.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Nettleham Parish Council Faces Contested Election

The parish of Nettleham is one of eleven parishes in the West Lindsey District that will have a poll to determine who will serve as the twelve members of Nettleham Parish Council for the next four years.

The candidates are:

  • Janice Clayton*
  • John Downs* (Company Director)
  • John Evans*
  • Susan Harland*
  • John Hill* (Chartered Engineer)
  • Malcolm Leaning* (Retired)
  • Giles McNeill*
  • Peter McNeill
  • Richard Porter*
  • Roger Sharp
  • Joseph Siddall*
  • Michael Spencer*
  • Angela White (Independent)
  • Terry Williams* (Environmental Lawyer (Rtd))
* Indicated that this individual has previously served as a member of Nettleham Parish Council

Electors will be able to cast up to twelve votes in the election on Thursday, 7th May 2015 which is being held concurrently with General and District Council elections. The count is to be held on Saturday, 9th May 2015.