From fish to football to our future - GTFC director to take business-facing council role

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 14 May 2019

The new leader of Conservative-won North East Lincolnshire Council has announced his choices to form the authority’s new cabinet.

Leader Philip Jackson has opted for Grimsby Town FC director, Councillor John Fenty - a successful seafood entrepreneur - as his deputy.

Cllr Jackson said his cabinet is a “strong and experienced team to bring about changes”.

The formal election of leader will take place at the council’s annual general meeting on Tuesday, May 21 and comes after the Town Hall switched from red to blue following the recent local elections.

North East Lincolnshire was the only one of the four Humber authorities to see a shift, with Labour in Hull and Conservatives in East Riding and North Lincolnshire.

Leader Philip Jackson.

It is the first time in the authority’s 23 year history that a Tory administration has had power.  There are now 23 Conservatives and 14 Labour councillors, with the Liberal Democrats having four seats and Ukip one, completing the 42 positions. 

Cllr Jackson said: “This is a strong team with the skills and experience to bring about the changes we want to see and take forward our manifesto commitments.

“We are all passionate about making North East Lincolnshire a more prosperous, pleasant and safer place for all our residents, businesses and visitors. A key part of this will be making progress with the Town Deal, in partnership with central Government, and I will take overall cabinet responsibility for this.”

The new administration should see Cllr Fenty installed as deputy leader and portfolio holder for regeneration, skills and housing. 

Fellow Humberston and New Waltham councillor and accountant, Stan Shreeve, will be portfolio holder for finance and resources.

Councillor John Fenty, centre,  created Five Star Fish from scratch.

Immingham’s Stewart Swinburn is to take over as portfolio holder for environment and transport and will oversee new proposals for Toll Bar roundabout.

Margaret Cracknell will be the new portfolio holder for health, wellbeing and adult social care and Callum Procter takes on the portfolio for tourism, heritage and culture.

Two Scartho councillors, Ian Lindley and Ron Shepherd, will take over as portfolio holder for children, education and young people and portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, respectively.

Mr Jackson said: I’ve got a strong team of seven individuals who have made a strong contribution to the council while we have been in opposition and I am confident that they will be able to take forward and develop their various portfolios to enable us to meet our manifesto pledges, take North East Lincolnshire forward and make it a more attractive and pleasant place for people, businesses and visitors, which is the aim and objective of the Conservative group when it takes control of the council formally next week.”

John Fenty’s ‘conflict of interest’ over new Grimsby Town stadium

How a new GTFC stadium could look within the Freeman Street regeneration plan.

The council’s new regeneration chief will have to opt out of key decisions over Grimsby Town’s new stadium because of his role as its chief shareholder, it has been confirmed.

New council leader Philip Jackson named fellow Tory councillor John Fenty as his deputy and portfolio holder for regeneration. Cllr Fenty is also a director and chief shareholder at Grimsby Town, having created Five Star Fish from scratch.

But Cllr Jackson said Cllr Fenty ‘will have to be very careful in declaring an interest’ in any council talks over moving Town from ageing Blundell Park to a new stadium. And he said he would have to miss out on any major decisions over the relocation.

A bid to move Town into a new stadium to anchor the regeneration of Freeman Street has been gathering momentum, with a nearby docks site also understood to be on a drawing board. 

Cllr Fenty had also shown some support for the move, despite long campaigning for Town’s new stadium to be build off Peaks Parkway, and previously, Great Coates. 

With Five Star, which coincidently sits across the A180 from the first proposal he was involved in, Cllr Fenty created a strong market challenger with a £25 million turnover, before selling up in 2005. Heavily exposed to the foodservice sector, it was badly hit by the recession, never really recovering until it was forced to close last year.

Since stepping down from Five Star Fish in 2006, he has continued his work with the Enterprise Agency, while also taking directorships with several high growth companies, including the re-emergence of the Topcon name, and more recently, Cool Energy

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