Tresco Councillor To Head New ‘Super-Committee’

Cllr Robert Dorrien Smith

Cllr Robert Dorrien Smith

The Council’s new Transport, Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee will be headed up by Cllr Robert Dorrien Smith from Tresco.

Robert was elected into the position at last Thursday’s meeting.

Earlier this year, Cllr Dorrien Smith argued for a lower cap on airport fees, claiming that officers had failed to take into account a rising trend in passenger numbers when making their recommendation for a 5% increase.

That was later doubled to 10% at Full Council.

The new ‘super-committee’ has the widest remit of any Council group, merging the former Transport Committee with General Purposes, which looked after water, sewerage, waste and other aspects of islands’ infrastructure like roads.

Economic Development, which had been under the Planning umbrella, has also been incorporated.

The Council’s newest member, Ted Moulson, who was elected last November, will serve as the Vice Chairman.

Ted gained the role by a single vote over the other candidate, Cllr Marian Bennett.

Marian, who is a founder member of the FRIST transport campaign group, had earlier sent a letter to all councilors setting out her bid for the position.

Marian said she had been “frustrated at the narrow remit” of the former Transport Committee.

She said she was very supportive of the Council’s efforts providing vital infrastructure for transport.

But she felt the main objective for the committee was to keep the airport’s reserves in surplus “as an end in itself,” rather than increasing passenger numbers, sustaining the health of the economy and improving the quality of transport services.

During the meeting, councilors were given the latest performance figures for the airport, which supported Cllr Dorrien Smith’s more optimistic forecast earlier in the season.

Passenger numbers were up by 844 over the predicted levels in April, an increase of nearly 11%. And landings were up by 112, an 18% rise, even though there were three days of no flying and two days of disruption.

The combined effect of these increases meant the airport raised an additional £4,815 during the month.

However, the airport has a long way to go before its reserves reach the £200,000 that the former Transport Chairman said is required for the facility to operate sustainably. In March, there was just £51,000 left in the account.

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