Island Transport Groups Unhappy Over Minister Meeting Snub

The Transport User Forum held in April

The Transport User Forum held in April

The Council is being accused of not delivering its Chief Executive’s promise of transparency and openness after failing to invite groups representing hundreds of islanders’ transport concerns to today’s meeting with Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin.

The three non-Council delegates who spoke at the House of Commons Committee on rural transport have not been invited to meet the Minister.

Last March, the Scilly delegation was divided in their goals when they were questioned in Parliament. The Council favoured funding for only infrastructure improvements whereas FRIST members Marian Bennett and Tim Guthrie, and Robert Francis who chairs the Islands’ Partnership Transport Group, wanted year-round affordable travel.

Baroness Kramer asked the islanders to get together and agree a plan before returning.

After subsequent meetings with local stakeholders, the Council dropped its strong opposition to asking for subsidies.

But Tim, Marian and Robert feel their groups should be part of today’s discussions, and they would have expected more “openness.”

Marian says she’s “not surprised but very disappointed,” adding that the new era of inclusion through the Transport Task and Finish Group seems to have faltered.

She says FRIST is a credible body and represents the views of hundreds of locals. She’d want their wishes put forward, as they have differed from the Council’s goals.

Marian is hoping that the Council’s delegation, Cllrs Amanda Martin and Chris Thomas, outline islanders’ transport needs and wishes to the Minister in FRIST’s absence.

Yesterday morning we emailed the Council to ask why FRIST and the Islands’ Partnership Transport Group, two organisations which represent significant community and business interest, had not been invited to meet the Minister.

We also asked whether FRIST’s claims that locals want travel subsidies would be relayed to Mr McLoughlin.

The Council refused to answer our questions. They sent a short email stating that a comment would be issued in due course.



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