Councillor Fails In Bid To Discuss Economic Development Update

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough

Cllr Gordon Bilsborough

A St Mary’s councillor has failed in his bid to get an economic development update debated by the Planning Committee.

The report, written by Senior Manager Diana Mompoloki, was placed into a part of yesterday’s meeting that was ‘for information only.’

Elected members can’t ask questions during this time.

In an email sent to all councillors before the meeting, Cllr Gordon Bilsborough said he wanted to find out more about the recently announced ‘Smart Island’ project, which aims to get islanders using more sustainable energy and electric vehicles.

The Council agreed a sustainable energy strategy back in 2007, but Gordon argued that since then, ten new councillors had been elected.

The report gave an outline of the project but he felt it was “only reasonable” that questions should be permitted during the meeting because new information was being presented.

But the majority of his fellow councillors present didn’t agree.

Cllr Avril Mumford felt that no decisions needed to be taken, so there was no need to debate the report at that time.

She said the Council was “a working partnership of councillors and officers, one depending on the other, and if one distrusts the other, no progress will be made.”

Tresco councillor Robert Dorrien Smith agreed, saying there wasn’t enough detail in the report to warrant discussion. He said he expected a full debate in the future when any decisions needed to be made.

Cllr Steve Sims went further, saying that Cllr Bilsborough was trying to “twist a positive green agenda into a destructive public polemic.”

The lone voice of support came from Cllr David Pearson, who said a lot of the technology being discussed didn’t exist seven years ago and he didn’t feel there was “any harm” discussing it.

Gordon said he accepted the vote against his proposal, but felt, “democracy had taken another blow.” But committee Chairman Cllr Gaz O’Neill said this was “democracy in practice.”

After the meeting, Gordon told Radio Scilly, “I am more sad then angry but will continue to fight for what I believe is in the interests of the electors.”

Gordon added, “I was under the, perhaps mistaken, impression that the Council believed in Openness and Transparency. No doubt the electors will draw their own conclusions.”

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