This website has its origins in 2006. Peter Weston, a member of the board of the Neston Market Town Initiative, (NMTI) worked with Ellesmere Port and Neston Borough Council (EPNBC) to create the first Neston website. His aim was ‘providing information which will attract visitors and inform residents’.
He elaborated: “The site will contain information on: A directory of businesses supplying goods and services locally, lists of voluntary groups and societies, What’s on, places of interest to visit, and; the history of the area.
The cost of setting up the website, about £5,000, was funded equally by EPNBC and the North West Development Agency.
EPNBC at the same time were developing their own website, and the Community website became a sub-set, covering the area of the former Neston Urban District Council, which is similar to the CH64 postcode area: it includes Burton, Little Neston, Ness, Neston, Parkgate and Willaston.
Patrick Barnes was the Web Editor for EPNBC, and he helped and advised. Volunteers submitted material to him, and he published it. Volunteers were allowed access to the computer terminal in the NMTI office, in a building behind Neston Town Hall. They could use the office only when one member of staff was present, and the second of two terminals was available. The system was routed (slowly) via a remote server belonging to Tagish Ltd, who also provided the software. The number of volunteers fell to two, Jerry Harris and Rob Ward, who remained the only members of the team in 2016.
When the office was demolished in order to create Neston Market Square, the volunteers went to EPNBC offices in Civic Hall, Ellesmere Port, for two hours on Friday mornings. After Cheshire West & Chester Council (CWaC) replaced EPNBC in 2009, they travelled to Chester each week.
With the Tagish contract due to expire, the CWaC webteam decided that, for the website to continue, they would need to initiate a WordPress version. This done, Neston Town Council (NTC) took over ownership and finalised the design, populated the pages and self hosted the website, and at last, editing the website could be carried out on home PCs!
The Society & Culture committee of NTC had a watching brief over the Community website. A website working group was established. The volunteers continued to edit the Community aspects of the website and the Council officers edited / uploaded agendas, minutes, news and the other major “business” aspects of the Council pages.
From the start, the website listed businesses in the CH64 area, starting with a list already created by EPNBC. It listed local organisations, based on paper lists and responses to requests. Audio trails of Neston Town Centre, Neston Parish Church and Parkgate won the Best Community Project in the 2008 Cheshire Community Pride Competition.
Search engines consistently put the site at or near the top of a search for Neston. Popular pages include Buses and Trains, Local Organisations, the Business Directory, Local Walks, the Historic Timeline for CH64, Neston, and Neston Recreation Centre.
In the 2012 Cheshire Community Pride Competition (market towns category) the website was Highly Commended. In 2013 it was Runner Up.
In 2016 the Website Working Group was replaced by the Media Editorial Board.
In 2017, Jerry Harris had to resign as a volunteer due to ill-health, and died shortly after. Mike Shipman became a volunteer. The website was refreshed with a new template.
In 2019 the Media Editorial Board was disbanded by the Policy Committee. Since 2020 Rob Ward has been the sole volunteer.