Cabinet Member Announcements
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: No
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Community Engagement reported that a letter had been received from the Minister for Housing concerning exceptional circumstances for the island. indicating that local and neighbourhood plans are fundamental for the Planning Department and its Committee’s decisions. It would be for the Planning Inspector to examine any local plan provided and consider whether the evidence provided by the IWC and decide whether these factors amount to constraints which would prevent the IW from meeting its housing needs. Evidence would be the key factor and would need to be robust and defendable.
The government had instructed 668 homes to be built on the Island but the council was trying to suppress this to 484 homes.
In response to a query from Cllr Brodie, the Leader agreed to share the letter sent to the DLUHC with councilllors.
The Planning Inspector had upheld a decision of the Planning Committee to refuse permission for an application at Ventnor Road, Apse Heath.
The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Business Development and Tourism reported that local input was being sought in shaping the final plans for use of the £5.8 million from the levelling up fund for East Cowes.
The D-Bid had been voted in for the second five-year period. Visit Isle of Wight had a good business plan in place.
A meeting had been held with the Arts Council to discuss cultural regeneration, which was one of the cornerstones of the new Corporate Plan.
The Southampton City of Culture bid was through to the next round.
The Cabinet Member for Highways PFI, Transport and Infrastructure reported that the Floating Bridge was expected to return to service on 13 December after final repairs and testing, crew refresher training and an inspection by the MCA.
The cost of the failures of the Floating Bridge were not to hand, but the council was entering into mediation for the cost and loss of revenue. It was hoped that the current modifications would reduce the level of failure going forward. A report would be brought to Cabinet in January 2022.
In response to a question from Cllr Brodie regarding the lack of notice to Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council regarding Coppins Bridge signal works, the Cabinet member explained that the Contract Management Team resources were stretched, meaning works were sometimes delayed or implemented at short notice, but gave reassurance that consultation would be carried out in future.
The Leader left the meeting at 6pm for a prior appointment and the Deputy Leader took the Chair.
The Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health reported that there were difficulties currently in recruiting to the care sector resulting in a shortage of staff on the island. The council was juggling staff to maintain a safe standard. Teams had gone to extra effort after hours. The Integrated Care systems should be moving forward in the new year.
The Deputy Leader reported that homelessness was rising on the island, due in part to problems in the rental market and the removal of the universal Credit uplift. The council was to pursue the rental provider avenue and would be moving forward in partnership with housing associations with the aim of providing affordable accommodation, which other members were pleased to hear. It was recognised that what may be affordable on the island was not necessarily the same as in other parts of the South of England. The Island Planning Strategy was hoping to address this issue and it would be important for the Planning Inspector to properly scrutinise the plan and recognise the island’s special circumstances. It was believed that more 1-2 bedroom properties were required for island residents in addition to the 3-4 bedroom properties which had been built in recent years.
The had been some recent problems with the council’s website which were being addressed.
The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Lifelong Skills reported that Ofsted inspections had resumed since being suspended during the pandemic, and that there had been a recent focused visit to the Child Protection Service which had been favourable. There had been some good work done in schools but it had been difficult to evidence improvement. Christ the King College had been given an overall rating which was an improvement from the previous inspection. Broadlea Primary School had also been given an improved rating. 75% of schools had been rated ‘good’ which was an increase from previous years.
The Cabinet Member for Environment, Heritage and Waste Management reported that there had been support from Island Roads for the ‘Dark Skies’ application, which would bring important benefits for wildlife and tourism. A report would be brought to Cabinet on 16 December. Th ‘Biosphere in the Bay’ project, which had launched in 2020 was being reinstated via the AONB and would seek grant funding to improve the biosphere and heritage in the Bay area.
The Cabinet Member for Strategic Finance, Corporate Resources and Transformational Change reported that the Cabinet was working towards a balanced budget, and they members were open to ideas from any Councillor.
Publication date: 15/11/2021
Date of decision: 11/11/2021
Decided at meeting: 11/11/2021 - Cabinet