Garstang independents will contest county election

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Garstang’S political scene looks set for a big shake-up with plans to set up a new non-party group in the district.

A Garstang Independent Group (GIG) is to be launched by officials of the Save Tip In Garstang (STING) organisation, who remain angry at the county council’s decision to close the area’s household waste centre at Claughton last year.

GIG, to be formally launched later this month, is planning to field a candidate in the Garstang division of the county elections in May, as a challenge to the district’s sitting Conservative county councillor Val Wilson.

Its entry into the poll will be a test of the fledgling group’s strength in Garstang and surrounding villages, where residents strongly opposed to the tip closure.

STING chairman Robert Lobell said the impetus behind GIG’s formation was Conservative-run Lancashire County Council’s decision to close the Claughton facility.

He accused Coun Wilson of failing to support local residents in their fight to keep the tip open.

Referring directly to Coun Wilson, Mr Lobell said: “We are taking this step because we have first hand
experience of how the present incumbent failed to support the local community in our previous campaign Save Tip In Garstang (STING) – even when some 8,000 local residents signed a petition to keep the Garstang HWRC open.

“Also the ruling group at County Hall, of which our present county councillor is a member, constantly ignored more than 22,000 Lancashire residents who protested against their HWRC closure programme.

“Now, we believe, it is payback time.”

He said GIG would fight on a pro-community ticket rather than party political lines.

Mr Lobell said GIG would use blogs, Twitter and Facebook to keep in touch with supporters, the greater Garstang community and the media.

But County Coun Wilson has hit back, insisting that she did fight for the tip.

“Initially, I voted to close two tips in the county, without knowing at that time which ones would be chosen,” she said.