Group condemns NELC's support for troubled Great Coates Village Council
RESIDENTS who campaigned for the abolition of Great Coates Village Council have criticised a report which recommends keeping the troubled authority.
Members of the Great Coates Residents Association (GRASS) have described the findings of North East Lincolnshire Council's community governance review select committee as "biased" and "unrepresentative".
In a statement, the group expressed doubts about NELC's ability to enforce many of the recommendations within the report, and insisted that dissolving the parish council was the only option.
It added that it could not comply with the recommendation to work with the parish council to promote the use of the village hall, and also asked why a vote of confidence in the parish council was never carried out.
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As reported, the review was prompted by a petition signed by more than 700 residents, angry that the parish council was pressing ahead with plans to build a new village hall – despite 80 per cent of those who voted in a referendum being against the project.
To undertake the work, the parish council has had to borrow £300,000, which will require a rise in the precept to pay off.
And although the report criticised "lapses in governance" at the council, it stopped short of recommending the "draconian" step of abolition.
Instead it made a series of recommendations, including that the parish council carry out a review of its governance arrangements within six months.
The GRASS statement said: "NELC has no powers over a parish council to enforce any of these recommendations.
"The only action NELC can and must do is to dissolve the parish council. Failure to do so would mean that they were of the same mind set as the village council in its willingness it ignore the majority of the electorate."
Referring to the recommendation for GRASS to work with the parish council to market the village hall, the statement added: "GRASS feels it cannot work with the current members of the village council who have shown such complete disregard of the residents declared wishes and we feel that this will not change.
"It was recommended to GRASS that to support the dissolution of the council in the governance review that a vote of confidence referendum be carried out by NELC, and such a request was legally generated in June 2012 so why has this not been carried out?"
A spokeswoman for NELC declined to comment, saying it would be unfair to pre-empt the final decision, which will be made by full council on Thursday, January 17.