Criticised council will not be axed
DESPITE a 700-signature petition and concerns over its leadership, Great Coates Parish Council should not be axed.
That is the finding of a review after residents called for it to be abolished.
Villagers have waged a war against the council after it was revealed council tax would be increased to repay a £300,000 loan for a new hall.
When plans for the development progressed – despite 80 per cent of residents voting against it – 700 people signed a petition calling for the governance review.
Father's Day will soon be upon us, so Don't Forget....
Pop into Alexandra Gifts of Ashby and Pick Up Something for Dad!
Terms: Alexandra Gifts, Alexandra Road, Ashby, Scunthorpe, DN16 2SF.
Contact: 01724 701748
Valid until: Saturday, June 15 2013
A report prepared by members of the review panel – which heard from interested parties on November 5, 6 and 9 – has stated the authority should stay.
But there are a number of areas of concern, including:
The "stand-off" between the council and residents could have been avoided with better engagement.
Lack of transparency surrounding the village hall project led to the distrust between the council and residents.
The council's reaction to the overwhelming outcome to the parish poll – where the majority of residents voted against the village hall – was "somewhat dismissive".
It is not clear if leadership on "significant local issues" is being given by the village councillors or the clerk, Kathy Nunn.
There have been "lapses in governance" at the council, which have created concerns over the village hall procurement process.
The review recommends that the "Draconian" step of abolishing the council would not be effective, but that the council should carry out a review into its activities.
It also recommends that the council begin working closely with members of Great Coates Residents' Association (Grass) and others to agree a plan for the future of the hall, as work has started.
Councillor Terry Thurogood, chairman of the community governance review panel, said: "The panel held three public meetings during November and residents and the village council were invited to speak. We also accepted representations from residents. The meetings covered a number of issues relating to the leadership, culture and governance of the council."
The panel has come up with the recommendations that will be put to an NELC scrutiny panel tomorrow at 2pm, prior to referral to full council.
The report is also being discussed by members of the parish council at its meeting at Great Coates Village Nursery School, in Station Road, from 6.30pm tonight.