Isle of Wight council leader, Dave Stewart, is being called out for claims he made in the recent Scrutiny meeting when he gave the impression the Solent LEP (SLEP) might ask for their money back if Floating Bridge 6 (FB6) was scrapped.
“If the council was to not complete the contract with the LEP by not meeting the targets and not being able to maintain the service, the body would be able to ask for its money back.”
SLEP: “Do not want any money back”
However, this is being challenged by a member of the Floating Bridge Engineers’ and Stakeholders’ Group.
Minutes as documented from a Zoom meeting in November 2020 between the Cowes Town Council and members of the SLEP (seen by News OnTheWight), reveal that the meeting was opened by a senior official from the SLEP specifically stating that the SLEP “want the FB6 to work” and “do not want any money back or to impose sanctions”.
A number of senior officers from SLEP were present at the meeting, some directly related to the FB6 project, plus the IWC leader, cabinet member and a senior officer.
The council leader was present at the November 2020 Zoom meeting where this was stated, so following his claims at the IWC Scrutiny meeting, he was approached last week by the member of the Floating Bridge Engineers’ and Stakeholders’ Group for an apology and correction to his statement.
Cllr Stewart replied,
“My comments reflect the understanding I have and indeed are enforced by discussions with officers and the LEP.
“On that basis I have no plans to meet your request for further media statements.”
Stewart: “I have nothing further to add”
News OnTheWight has approached Cllr Stewart. He gave us this response.
“Thank you for offering me the opportunity to respond to this matter.
“I am not sure that I was at the meeting in November – but in any event I have responded to the individual who raised concerns with me expressing my understanding of the matter and both council officers and the LEP are aware.
“I have nothing further to add.”
The minutes to the meeting do show the council leader was in attendance.
4.35pm 22nd Mar 2021 – Comment from Cllr Stewart added.
Image: © With kind permission Emma Gee