Isle of Wight council committee defends consultation for UKOG oil drilling planning application

The planning committee rejected a motion calling for the public consultation surrounding the application for oil drilling in Arreton to be withdrawn and reintroduced at a different time

Trees outside County Hall

The Isle of Wight council has defended its consultation on the UKOG Arreton oil drilling application after critics claimed it was inadequate.

A motion calling for the public consultation surrounding the application to be withdrawn and reintroduced at a different time came before the council’s planning committee last night (Tuesday), three months after it was deferred by the full council.

90 per cent of objections
Since July, the public consultation has ended but attracted over 1,000 comments, with over 90 per cent objecting to the application.

When the motion was first submitted by Cllr John Medland, however, the application’s consultation was live.

Medland: Current consultation procedure being followed
Cllr Medland argued the current practices failed to comply with the relevant legislative provisions and asked the consultation to be reinstated at a time when the public could inspect paper copies of plans, physical attendance at meetings could happen and a site visit be undertaken.

He said:

“It appears the current consultation procedure being followed is not proportionate to the potential impact of the development.”

Boulter: Officers felt no reasonable grounds to hold back
Last night, councillors on the planning committee unanimously rejected the motion, following warnings from the council’s strategic planning manager Ollie Boulter.

Mr Boulter said:

“These (what) regulations were enacted to support timely decision making and to avoid delays while maintaining public participation in the decision-making process.

“A number of changes were introduced including the removal of the need to make documents available to inspect.

“These changes being introduced broadly coincided with lockdown restrictions easing, so officers felt there were no reasonable grounds to hold back this and other applications.”

UKOG could appeal
Mr Boulter said the implications if the committee supported the motion, and told the officers not to determine the application, would mean the applicants, UK Oil and Gas, could appeal the decision which would lead to the final decision being made by the Planning Inspectorate off the Island.

Cllr Matthew Price said he understood why the motion was being submitted, but the committee would be ‘absolutely stupid’ to accept this motion.

He said:

“To allow this decision to be decided off the Island and be determined by someone else would be an absolute failure of the individuals on the committee.”

Committee decision some way off
Mr Boulter admitted the officers were some way off determining the application.

Chair of the committee, Cllr Chris Quirk, agreed with calls for the meeting at which the the application is determined should be held in person but said it was not likely to come before the committee before December.

It was also agreed a site visit must happen as it was ‘essential’ in determining the application.

All but one councillor agreed to the site visit. Cllr Brian Tyndall abstained.

This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: © Isle of Wight Council

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16 Comments on "Isle of Wight council committee defends consultation for UKOG oil drilling planning application"

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Yet again the Planning Committee show us just how they are ‘whipped’ regardless of IOW residents opinions! This planning application was deferred 3 months ago, after being submitted (on purpose?) in the middle of a global pandemic…..well guess what….we are still in a global pandemic! Town and Parish Councils, residents and businesses have had no opportunity to view paper documents or attend any meetings relating to probably… Read more »

You will find this answers your question.

Simple Google search!


Democracy in action under the Tories.

Benny C
Err…if the Planning Committee refuses the application, UKOG will inevitably appeal, so the decision gets made by the Planning Inspectorate – likely to be someone from the mainland. I don’t really understand Matthew Prices point, either he doesn’t understand the system we have entrusted him to govern or he cannot communicate clearly what his strategic thinking is (assuming he knows what it is). So let’s help the… Read more »
Err No you are entirely incorrect. Be assured I understand the process and also I am well aware that if this is turned down by the planning committee it could be granted at appeal.. as it would be if the council does not determine the application within the the required times, that was the whole point of voting down this motion, (which I actually said I agreed… Read more »

With all due respect Councillor Price, your vote for the Nicholson Road planning application would seem to contradict your comments on this post.
This was recommended for refusal by Island Roads, RTC objected to it but you, along with 5 other Conservative members of the Planning Committee voted in favour of it, with 47 conditions attached!

Phil Jordan

Eight conservatives voted to support this planning application. Four non conservatives voted against.

‘Sometimes I have to go with tough decisions “ Yes councillor when you are leant on pretty hard. I have seen a recording of this Committee meeting, I think you should put it on YouTube . Nobody knew what they were voting for on Nicholson Road. The Traffic arrangements varied from slide to slide and it was hard to ascertain what was actually proposed. I don’t think… Read more »
Benny C

Is viability a Legitimate planning matter?

Benny C

Thank you for providing further detail regarding the savvy understanding of process which guided your actions, its reassuring and much appreciated. It’s a shame this wasn’t clearer for everyone at the outset. The allegations around other applications are irrelevant here. That said, it seems clear that constructing a clever argument in either direction is a challenge for IOWC.

Phil Jordan
BC: For some clarity on this. I do think that there has been an element of ‘fear’ introduced into planning applications on the basis that an appeal can be made against refusal to the Inspectorate. Along with that ‘fear’ has been an accompanying ‘threat’ of extensive costs if the appeal is upheld. In reality, whilst that might be applicable to a very, very few appeals, the data… Read more »
Phil Jordan
I agree with this entirely Phil, quaking in our boots over the fear of appeal is totally wrong.. but when it comes to the UKOG application, allowing the decision to go off Island for determination is a dangerous game. We were told by the head of planning that this was a likely outcome if Cllr Medlands motion was passed.. I would have happily voted for more consultation… Read more »
Benny C

If UKOGs appeal stats are that bad they’d be out of business.

So the Chair of Planning says a site visit must be made “as it was essential in determining the application”. Earlier at the same meeting no site visit had been made to Nicholson Road before determining that application. Was that because the developer was the Isle of Wight Council itself? In its own way the Nicholson Road development is just as controversial and unwanted, and will badly… Read more »

Stop all this nonsense and ban this dirty filthy business ever coming here. The only people who will benefit are those greedy selfish landowners, the oil company, their share holders and those in the pockets of UKOG