Council’s Transport Users Forum Never Met, Says Report

town hall 11It’s emerged that a Council-arranged group that was meant to give islanders a say on travel matters never met last year.

In 2014, the Council put together panels of local stakeholders who would help formulate transport policy.

The Transport Task and Finish Group, made up of representatives from the Council, Steamship Company, Duchy, Healthwatch and FRIST was set up to look at the evidence on and provide options for the Transport for Scilly Board.

This Board, in turn, is made up of The Council, Tresco Estate, the Steamship Company and the Duchy.

There’s also been separate input from the Islands’ Partnership Transport Group and the Medical Travel Group, managed by Healthwatch.

But in a report presented to members of last week’s Transport Committee, Senior Manager from Development, Diana Mompoloki, wrote that the Transport Users Forum, a key route for input from the public and originally planned for February 2014, never actually met, so there were no clear outcomes or actions

We asked the Council why the panel hadn’t met and who is responsible for it.

In a written statement the Town Hall said Council Director Craig Dryden chaired this group and it did meet. But that was before 2014’s consultation exercise.

They say that the Transport Users Forum was set up as part of the Sustainable Transport Framework in 2010, but the group’s role has been superseded by the Transport for Scilly Board, The Transport Task and Finish Group as well as the public meeting held in April in the Town Hall.

At last Thursday’s meeting, Diana said managing the Task and Finish group had been “challenging” and an, ‘interesting and scratchy process” with the partners have competing priorities.

Her report lists a number of actions being put forward by the Transport Task and Finish Group, including improvements to transport resilience in bad weather and, if flights are cancelled, better ways of dealing with stranding passengers.

There’s also a call for better connections from other mainland transport hubs.

Some recommendations also deal with cost, although that will still be left to market forces to decide.

During the public meeting on transport in April, many islanders called for subsidies on either the transport or freight routes to reduce prices.

The Task and Finish Group has instead recommended that the Council conduct a “review of opportunities, including Aid of Social Character by Dec 2014.”

And at the meeting, Diana said the Council was looking at freight subsidies, but it was not something they could do alone – they’d need to be agreed with the Steamship Company.

Diana told councillors that she publish the recommendations on the Council’s website.

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