Councillor Questions Former Chief Exec’s AONB Role

Former Council chief executive, Philip Hygate

Former Council chief executive, Philip Hygate

The vice chair of Council has questioned whether it’s appropriate for the former chief executive to chair the National Association of AONBs.

Amanda Martin raised the question after hearing that Philip Hygate is continuing to head the national management board, which covers all AONBs in the UK.

Philip chaired the local AONB joint advisory group until his early retirement in January.

Amanda wanted to know if Mr Hygate was continuing to represent the islands and said if a position was available, she would like to see it taken by someone from our area.

But local AONB officer, Trevor Kirk, told her that elections onto the board would not be held until October. And he said there were precedents for someone to be in that position without a direct affiliation or association to an AONB. If the local AONB has an issue with that, they should pass the appropriate details onto the National Association, he said.

Vice chair of the Isles of Scilly AONB, Johann Hicks, said the management board is a small body and not every AONB is automatically represented. Members are chosen for their attributes, he said, and “whatever the merits of the previous chairman, he was seen to have a strong feeling for the AONB objectives.”

Amanda said she understood, but it was unfortunate in this case.