Councillor Pushing For Public Debate On Development Report

town hall 8A St Mary’s councillor is pushing for a Council debate, in public, over proposed electric vehicle targets, Scilly’s generation of renewable energy, the delayed Porthmellon Innovation Centre and changes to the AONB.

But so far, Gordon Bilsborough says he’s been denied a request to have the strategic development report, which addresses these issues, debated by councillors in Thursday’s meeting.

The update written by Senior Manager Diana Mompoloki contains more details of the recently announced ‘Smart Island’ project, which aims to increase Scilly’s generation of renewable energy and sets a target for two out of five of the islands’ vehicles to be electric.

It also has updates on works to the quay and St Mary’s airport.

Gordon is unhappy that it’s been put into the part of the meeting reserved for reports that are ‘for information only.’

While these are open to the public to read, elected members can’t debate and discuss the contents or ask questions of the officers in the meeting about what is in the reports.

Gordon says he’s written twice to Cllr Gaz O’Neill, the Chairman of the Planning Committee, to get the report discussed, but he’s been refused both times.

Cllr O’Neill has told him that no decisions are required so it doesn’t need to be debated and members should direct any questions to the officer who wrote it.

Gordon says that Cllr O’Neill also told him that he feels this is an attempt to hijack the meeting in order to grandstand to the media.

But Gordon refutes that, saying he won’t tolerate being told he can’t talk to the media, as that would be “the first steps towards an autocratic state.”

He says it’s about letting the public know what their elected members think on the issues. He believes the issue of electric cars in particular has caused a lot of upset and he feels this is an attempt to stop further discussion about it.

Gordon has now contacted all councillors to say he’ll propose a vote on Thursday to have the report moved to an earlier part of the meeting where it can be discussed.

Gordon says all he wants to do is to talk about the contents of the report but he says “for some reason, they’re wanting to stop members from asking questions.”

He says if the Council uses bureaucratic excuses for not answering perfectly reasonable questions then people will suspect they’re trying to hide something or wish to avoid controversy.

Gordon says this is not his idea of democracy.

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