Great Coates village hall work starts on Monday – despite protests
CONSTRUCTION of a controversial village hall in Great Coates is set to start on Monday – despite ongoing protests from residents.
As reported, the £300,000 project has been strongly opposed by residents who object to the village council increasing their precept to pay for it.
In a parish poll held in February, more than 80 per cent of villagers voted against the development.
However, Great Coates Village Council has pressed ahead with the scheme, saying a community facility is badly needed in the village.
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The building, which has been designed by Holton-le-Clay's Jonathan Hendry Architects, will be located on land between Station Road and Cooks Lane.
But despite construction being set to start on Monday morning, some villagers still believe the project has been railroaded through illegally.
At the latest village council meeting, resident Ray Lawrence said councillors have acted "undemocratically and immorally" in pushing the development forward.
Mr Lawrence, who is chairman of the Great Coates Residents' Association, claims the council has not abided by its own standing orders – the rules the authority is legally bound by – when procuring and tendering the new hall.
He added: "It is clear to me that the council has not only acted undemocratically and immorally, but also illegally.
"This has very serious implications for the council, the councillors who made those decisions, and for any contracts the council has entered into, which may become invalid.
"To save this village and its residents from further embarrassment and shame, I call on all of the councillors to resign. Somebody must be held responsible for pushing this through."
Councillor Nicola Maasdam, the current chairperson, said Mr Lawrence's claims were "ridiculous."
She said: "The whole process has been double checked and rubber-stamped by legal experts.
"We are all very excited about the start of the construction process and can't wait to see the finished building.
"North East Lincolnshire Council has earmarked Great Coates for the building of 800 to 1,000 new homes in the future and this village hall will be an important amenity for future residents, as well as existing ones."
Councillor Ann Bagley added that the existing members will not be stepping down from their roles, despite Mr Lawrence's pleas.
"The residents could have voted us out of our posts at the last elections if they wished," she added.
"There were, and remain, a number of vacancies on the council but none of the people who are complaining are willing to stand for election themselves".