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History Repeats Itself

By: Rob Sedgwick
Date: 07/10/2000

12 NELC councillors are again unable to have a say in Monday's debate at the Town Hall on the new stadium, as all have to declare an "interest" in the Mariners. The twelve are not allowed to enter the debate or register a vote as they are either season tickets holders, or regularly attend games.

The reason for the ban is the same as that in the original meeting back on the 13th July, when the councillors voted 20-9 against modifying the authority's local plan to allow the stadium to be built in principle, the first step before planning permission could even proceed. On that occasion too a similar number of councillors were not allowed to register a vote or voice an opninion. The reason for the ban is worries about a precedent set when the Court of Appeal decided against councillors in a case Liverpool, with the judge deciding that being a season ticket holder was sufficient to count as "an interest" in stadium planning decisions. The council are meeting on Monday to discuss the findings of the report they commissioned from Gerald Eve, which concluded that the only suitable site for a new stadium in the entire county was the original site at Great Coates. This was also the result of the original independent report comissioned by the council, and which received the support of 90% of the population of the county in a poll conducted on behalf of the club. The decision effectively means that voters in 12 wards in the Grimsby area have no representatives at the council meeting, as the system is too inflexible to allow any alternative such as a replacement candidate to step in for the night. Hating football or supporting any team other than Grimsby Town is not sufficient to be deemed as "an interest". That said a good number of people felt let down by their "representatives" that were allowed to vote on July 13th. The remaining councillors will to have to dig themselves out of the hole that the council find themselves in without the help of their colleagues, with a second vote on the local plan seemingly the only way out for the councillors to save any face at all.

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