Grandma Shirley (74) takes up council fight

Alone ' pensioner Shirley Giles is funding the legal battle against South Holland District Council. SG301013-128TW
Alone ' pensioner Shirley Giles is funding the legal battle against South Holland District Council. SG301013-128TW
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A granny is funding her own legal battle against South Holland District Council because her parish council has pulled the plug on its fight to stop a £165million gasifier being built at Wingland.

Sutton Bridge Parish Council met behind closed doors on Thursday and abandoned its legal challenge after spending around £2,500 on advice from lawyers.

Parish councillor Shirley Giles (74) said lawyers advised a further £2,000 needed to be spent to ask questions of South Holland – and, depending on answers given, the parish council could then decide whether to ask for a judicial review.

Mrs Giles said: “I told them I will pay for it – there’s £2,000 on the table.”

She branded the council “lily livered” and says the £2,500 it spent so far has been utterly wasted.

Mrs Giles and fellow parish councillor Jenny Rowe say they were the only ones who voted to continue the fight and claim there was scaremongering at the meeting with fears raised the fight could bankrupt the council. But they say the parish council can have a protected costs order to limit the cash spent.

Figures obtained by the Free Press reveal the parish council currently has more than £83,000 in its bank accounts.

Last May, the council set up a £10,000 fighting fund to mount a legal challenge in a bid to overturn the planning consent given to EnergyPark Sutton Bridge.

Mrs Giles went straight home from Thursday’s meeting and booked The Constitutional Club, in New Road, Sutton Bridge. for a public meeting at 7.30pm on Thursday, February 27.

Mrs Rowe said: “We want to let the public know what’s going on and what the options are. We want to let them know that we are still fighting it even though the parish council has backed off.”

Mrs Giles fears the gasifier will harm air quality and may be a fire risk close to two gas-fired power stations – one built and one in the pipeline.

She said: “These pellets (the biomass fuel) are green wood and they get hot and they explode and they catch fire – that’s going to be between two gas-fired power stations. What will it do to Sutton Bridge if that happens?”

A statement on behalf of parish council chairman John Grimwood confirmed the council had dropped its legal battle.