Councillors Reject Calls To Change Reserved Off-Island Seats

bryher view

The off-islands currently have two reserved Council seats each

There still needs to be reserved seats for off-island councillors in any future shake-up of Scilly’s electoral system. And there appears to be little support for an elected mayor.

That’s the view of many of the councillors who were questioned at the Heart group meeting.

Barnselie Ward has supported abolishing the ‘parish’ electoral system for some time. He has proposed that all islanders vote for the same list of candidates who would represent all of Scilly.

Cllr Marian Bennett voiced some support for that principle, adding that councillors, “do represent all the islands, we are speaking for the whole of the Isles of Scilly.”

Vice chair Amanda Martin agreed that the system needs looking at. She’s uncertain whether the off-islands need two seats each, but believes they each need one.

And Cllr Gordon Bilsborough said it is unfair that an off-island electorate of 54 people should have two members when one councillor served 100 people on St Mary’s.

He wanted to reduce the entire council from 21 to 13 seats. He’s tried to cut two St Mary’s seats and half of the off-island places previously and claims it would cut costs and create a better electoral contest.

But Cllr Bennett took issue with previous claims that off-island elections were a walkover. She agreed that her election had been ‘non-contested’ but hoped off-islanders were happy with their representative since they had not been opposed.

Cllr Roy Duncan said he wouldn’t change a thing. He felt the current representation was right.

Some committees require off-island members and it was difficult recruiting to all committees now. Although members gave examples of meeting that had been cancelled because too few members could attend, Amanda Martin advised that this was not the norm.

She would like more people to stand for election, claiming that, “sniping from the parapet is easy.” And Cllr Martin would like to see more younger locals stand.

She pointed out she was the second-youngest member and was, herself, a grandmother.

Some campaigners have suggested that a paid mayor could work full-time and devote more time to Council issues. Gordon Bilsborough passionately rejected that idea and suggested that it could lead to a powerful, Nazi-style dictator, telling the meeting that, “they tried it in Germany in 1933.”

Meeting Chairman Adrian Davis quickly rejected that suggestion, adding that he had undertaken research on elected mayors. Dudley Mumford said there was a cabinet system in Cornwall and if such a change was adopted here, there would have to be more scrutiny work by members.

Any potential changes would be for the next Council to pursue, Amanda said and Cllr Dudley Mumford agreed that the Council management and discussions over a chief executive role would need to be resolved first.

8 Responses to Councillors Reject Calls To Change Reserved Off-Island Seats

  1. Pat Hicks February 14, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    I also remember the days when the council worked well. and
    hopefully it is now getting better again. the councilors are more approchable than they’v been in years. it is a pleasure to stop and chat to some of them.. well done !!.

    I bet you all think why does she not check/spell check the post i put on… well you see you got to concentrate when you read what i put on… it grabs ya.. and also i am to bl—y lazy
    method in my madness. !!

  2. Fran Grottick February 14, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    I don’t wish to be rude, but surely we shouldn’t
    be ruling anything in or anything out until we have more
    I again don’t wish to be rude, and attempt to give
    Gordon B a history lesson, but the reasons for the rise
    of Hitler in pre-war Germany were many and complex,
    and I don’t find his recent comments re. a Mayor either
    helpful or appropriate.
    We need more information about all the options to
    ensure the best choices are made.

  3. Pat Hicks February 14, 2013 at 12:35 am


    Well now folks,i have given this plenty of thought, i have lived here for some 37 years, so i think i’m well quilified now.
    I reckon you need a Mayor/bellringer and i think i would do a bleedy good job, being proper cornish an all,
    I could do with a nice big bell so’s i can give it welly as i’m going through hugh town and let eh all know the ins and out and whats what..
    so what you reckon, do you think i’m up for the job !!.

    Now For those that now me they’ll understand me.
    for those that dont.
    TOUGH !!

    on a serious note i dont think its a good idea to have a Mayor.
    thats my opinion. for what its worth. which is squiggly s–t

  4. steve February 13, 2013 at 9:13 pm

    I remember the days when Tresco had three reserved seats! Not sure exactly when it was reduced to two, possibly this change was made in the 1970’s or 1980’s. I suggest that before any changes are proposed or made, we fully understand the history of how we ended up with the current council representation.

  5. Margaret February 13, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    I disagree with Councillor Bilsborough . An elected Mayor could be considered instead of replacing the
    Chief Exec. Post. It is for a 5 year stint only so he/she would have to be re elected ! Different rules of employment . No large pay offs required !

    • Nobby Nobbs February 13, 2013 at 10:43 pm

      I agree to a point, the trouble is the post of elected mayor just attracts large egos that like swanning around with a large goldie looking chain around their neck at every given opportunity.

  6. E Pickles February 12, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    One councillor for each off island and six for St Mary’s giving a total of ten councillors more representative of proportion of population.

    As it stands, off islands are way over represented.

    I also have to disagree with councillor Duncan, things do need to change

  7. Pat Hicks February 12, 2013 at 5:02 am

    I think the running of the whole council needs to be looked into
    and councilors need to attend at least 70% of meetings. if not they need to explain why not or stand down.. it is unfair on the councilors who have to make decisions when they are not all present and must put them under pressure. and do you really need 2 off island councilors for each off island, some find it difficult getting to and fro anyway and it will also save on boat fares etc. and if all the councilors are acting on behalf of all the islands should it be that important. !! it is far more important that the councilors we have are all working together for the sake of all the islands..the councilors also need to make sure they have the paper work etc in plenty of time to before meetings so they are prepared.
    rabbit, rabbit. hope i have not confused anyone. !!
    i know what i mean…. do you. ha ha