Bid to have Great Coates parish council abolished is turned down
DEMOCRACY in Grimsby is dead.
That was the reaction from disgruntled Great Coates residents after their bid to have their parish council abolished was rejected.
North East Lincolnshire Council last night voted to save the village council, despite a 700- signature petition calling for it to be axed.
However, the parish council was warned that "business as usual is not an option" and that failure to change its ways would trigger another review which could lead to abolition.
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At a special full council meeting at Grimsby Town Hall, councillors voted to accept the recommendations set out by a select committee last month.
They include that the parish council should be retained, but that it should carry out a review of its activities and report on a quarterly basis to NELC's policy, performance and resources scrutiny panel.
Councillor Ray Sutton (Lab, Freshney), chairman of the scrutiny panel, told the meeting that "the extent to which abolition was considered should not be underestimated", and that there had been "a lack of transparency" within the parish council.
But he added that even if it had been scrapped, the cost of the controversial village hall project which triggered the petition would still have fallen on the villagers.
Councillor Terry Thurogood (Lab, Croft Baker), chairman of the select committee, said: "Although we didn't go for the nuclear option of abolishing the parish council, business as usual is not an option."
Council leader Chris Shaw (Lab, Sidney Sussex) said: "We need to make it crystal clear to Great Coates Parish Council failure to comply with the recommendations will trigger another review. This council is not going to go away, but if they don't toe the line and do what has been requested, they may well do so."
However, speaking after the meeting, Ray Lawrance, chairman of the Great Coates Residents' Association, expressed his disillusionment with the outcome.
He said: "Of course it is what we expected, but the really disappointing thing is that even though the councillors have been quite scathing about the parish council not one of them had the courage of their convictions to get up and support dissolution. If this is democracy, I'm afraid democracy in Grimsby is dead."
Nicola Maasdam, the chairman of the village council, said: "We are very pleased with the outcome. I think it is a good thing for the village to have a parish council and we look forward to working on the recommendations. I accept that our communication could at times have been better but I don't accept that we haven't been transparent. We do all our business in the meetings."