Prospective LEP Business Representative For Scilly ‘Misses The Boat’

Cllr Robert Dorrien Smith

Cllr Robert Dorrien Smith

Representation on the Local Enterprise Partnership, the body looks after business strategy in the region, and could soon be responsible for the next slice of European cash, has been causing concern for some councillors.

The authority had previously appointed the former Chief Executive Philip Hygate to that role, but after his early retirement last year, decided to make an elected member, the Chair of the Policy and Resources Committee, the official representative.

But at last week’s Full Council meeting, Cllr Marian Bennett opposed the automatic appointment of that person to the LEP.

She said the body is business driven and felt it was more appropriate for the owner of Scilly’s largest business, Tresco Estate, to be our representative.

Marian felt Cllr Robert Dorrien Smith could “kill two birds with one stone” by representing both the Council and private business on the islands.

That view was echoed by Cllr Christine Savill who said it was a shame that Scilly didn’t have a business representative on the group.

But Council Chair Amanda Martin told them that the LEP had already advertised for business leaders in Scilly to come forward for two new positions on the board created in January.

No members of the business community from the islands applied and she said the Council might look “slightly strange” if they asked the LEP to do something that they themselves have already suggested in vain.

Cllr Dorrien Smith said he wasn’t aware the positions had been advertised, after being informed that an email had been sent to all councillors and senior officers and the positions had been advertised on Radio Scilly, ScillyToday and in The Cornishman.

“I obviously read the wrong newspapers,” he told the Chairman.

Marian said it was clear that their advertising hadn’t reached certain people and she repeated her call for the business community in Scilly to be represented.

Members voted to retain the Chair of Policy and Resources as their representative.