The great-granny who humbled the district council in the High Court by overturning planning consent for a gasifier in Sutton Bridge has resigned from her parish council.
Shirley Giles (75) cited a number of reasons for her departure in a resignation letter read out at Tuesday night’s meeting, but insists she will stay on guard and be ready to go back to court if the plan for a gasifier power station – dubbed an incinerator or “cancinerator” by opponents – ever resurfaces.
I don’t think the gasifier will ever come back but, if it does, I am still here.Shirley Giles
She said: “I don’t think the gasifier will ever come back but, if it does, I am still here. I didn’t have to be a parish councillor last time to do it.”
Shirley used her own money for the High Court battle, but won back those costs along with a victory that saw South Holland District Council racking up a legal bill for nearly £10,500.
Earlier this year, the district council planning committee refused an amended application from EnergyPark Sutton Bridge because for seven months the company failed to answer a series of key questions – including the fuel to be burned and its source.
At that time, South Holland and The Deepings MP John Hayes said: “The people of Sutton Bridge – and I think all of the residents of South Holland – owe Shirley an immense debt of gratitude.”
Shirley’s resignation letter levelled criticisms at some fellow parish councillors but she says she enjoyed her three years on the council and has nothing but praise for clerk Suzanne England, assistant clerk Karen Croxford, and chairman John Grimwood.
“Suzanne and Karen are really professional,” said Shirley. “I can’t praise them enough. John is a very hands-on chairman who does a lot of extra work. If anything needs doing, he’s there with his screwdriver etc, etc.”
Shirley has put her home on the market and, when it sells, she will move to Hampshire to be closer to her family.
She said: “I want to see my great-grandchildren grow up.”
Meanwhile Shirley will focus her efforts on further developing the village foodbank that opened last year.
• Shirley is one of four people steering Sutton Bridge Foodbank to greater success.
It was opened in St Matthew’s Church on April 1, 2014, and has so far provided 850 meals for people in crisis.
But Shirley and fellow organisers Phil Scarlett, Suzanne England and John Grimwood hope to move it along Bridge Road to The Curlew Centre and open a foodbank charity shop there, too.
Because the community centre has more users, it’s felt people will feel happier about going there to collect the provisions they need to survive.
Foodbanks are not allowed to prop-up ongoing poverty: they can simply provide a total of three vouchers to those in crisis (food for a total of nine days) and signpost users to advice services.
Vouchers are issued by holders such as Citizens’ Advice, the JobCentre or healthworkers and are not simply handed out to anyone who asks.