Residents living by proposed new Grimsby Town stadium demand answers from council
ANXIOUS residents have demanded answers from councillors about plans to build a new Grimsby Town Football Stadium in Weelsby Avenue.
They also claimed the council knew 'more than they are letting on' about the controversial development, that would neighbour Grimsby Cemetery and St Andrew's Hospice, and have done so since March this year.
But due to strict planning laws, Park ward councillors, Andrew DeFreitas and Matthew Barrow – who both sit on the planning committee – were unable to give them answers for fear of losing their vote if an application is made to North East Lincolnshire Council.
As reported, the Mariners have teamed up with Simons Development Ltd who have a one-year exclusivity over other developers to "investigate the viability" of using a 22.7-hectare plot between Peaks Parkway and Weelsby Avenue for a new stadium, which could also have community use and a retail outlet.
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Although a planning application has not been submitted, it has already attracted widespread opposition from residents living close to the site, which is also populated by bats and is home to a 2,000-year-old Viking settlement.
Weelsby Avenue resident Paula McAfee said: "This is the busiest road in Grimsby that goes nowhere. We were told we were getting a Morrisons there, then it was 170 houses, now GTFC want to build their stadium there. We are worried. We want to know what is going to happen to our road. As residents we need to know."
Councillor DeFreitas – who handed out 2,000 leaflets around the ward to publicise the meeting – stressed that if he were to make his stance on the development now, he would lose his right to vote if an application was made, which he said: "Would not be in the residents' best interest."
He added: "An application has not been made yet. If and when one is, that is the time to be asking all these questions. I understand we are all concerned and if there is an application you can rest assured we will take the matter up then.
"We realise there are several issues, but please, let us wait for an application to be made and then we will worry."
When Peaks Parkway was built a covenant was made that would stop any major junction being added to the main road and the allotments being taken away – which would be the case if the stadium were to be built.
This prompted residents to ask why a feasibility study had been allowed by NELC in the first place.
Park Ward Action Group, which called the meeting, urged residents to fight any future plans.
Secretary of the group, Brenda Dixon, said: "We as an action group can join together and fight it.
"There are procedural difficulties which means the councillors cannot say which way they will vote, but they can give us advice. Andrew has delivered 2,000 leaflets for tonight, that is the level of commitment our councillors give us and that is the way forward. If we are going to object we have to do it the right way by using our resources and we have to do it ourselves."