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What Now NELC?
By: Bill Osborne
The independent consultant's report, on the most appropriate site for building Grimsby Town's new stadium, has now been officially released although council officials and councillors have been aware of the main thrust of the report for some time.
The findings of the report were leaked to us about a week ago, despite Ian Bolton (Deputy CEO of NELC) claiming that was not possible as it was not out at the time. In actual fact, at the time Mr. Bolton made that statement the councillor's were already aware of the main findings of the report and that we had access to it. This gives some indication of the embarrassment that the council have suffered with the findings of the report and the reasons for the hasty move to "damage control". Notwithstanding all that, the question now is: What will the NELC do now with two independent reports pointing at Great Coates as the most suitable site and the only one that fulfills all the criteria set by council? They have two alternatives. They can reverse their previous decision thereby incurring the wrath of the Great Coates Nimbys'. Or; Designate a site that does not fulfill all the criteria set by them and hand it over to GTFC, however unsuitable it may be, and claim they have done their duty and it is now up to GTFC to sort out the problems relating to the site. Most, but not all, of the fans would much prefer the reversal of the original decision to block the move to Great Coates. Even if that is the final conclusion, there will still be a long way to go. The Great Coates residents may exercise their rights to appeal. If they do, the public enquiry could take many months. That is not to say that the Nimby's represent the whole of the Great Coates community. In the polls that were conducted, respondents in that ward voted overwhelmingly in favour of the project. Some Grimsby Town fans on the other hand, are calling for some sort of action or demonstration to indicate their support of the club in its aim to build the stadium at Great Coates. A worthy consideration that would be supported by most of the Grimsby fans. The wisest course at this time however must be to wait and see the reaction by all parties to the news and to await the outcome of the special meeting of the NELC to discuss the report at which, it is hoped supporters will be allowed to attend. It will not be until then that a clearer indication will emerge of which way the NELC will jump. One would also hope that serious dialogue is now taking place with club and council officials and it would be very sad if well-meaning fan action compromised those discussions. If the need for fan action arises The Fishy will support that action and assist in any way it can but until then, we should exercise caution and patience until it is established if, and what, action will be required.
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