IW Council leader accuses Ventnor council of ‘hysterical scaremongering’ over break up of Coastal Management Team

Following OnTheWight’s publication of a letter from the IW Association of Local Councils (IWALC) to council leader David Pugh over the restructure of the Coastal Management team, we have been copied in (along with all council members, IWALC members, the media and others) to the reply from Cllr Pugh.

David Pugh

In his response, Cllr Pugh accuses the Ventnor Town council of ‘hysterical scaremongering’ and ‘wild inaccuracies’ in their statement published last week. What follows is Cllr Pugh’s unedited response to John Medland. Ed

Dear John

Thank you for your letter.

I fear that you may have been taken in by the hysterical scaremongering which has been put out by Ventnor Town Council, and we are in the process of correcting the wild inaccuracies in their various pronouncements on this matter.

The letter you have sent me has been copied it to a wide range of individuals and organisations, including the media, without checking your facts first. As a result your letter is inaccurate on a number of counts and it is disappointing that in copying your letter so widely that you have misled all of those copied into your email. Although I appreciate that checking your facts first would not help you to create headlines with the media you copied this to. Why let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh?

It is particularly disappointing that you have chosen to issue this to the media without giving any apparent thought to those affected by what is a staffing matter that is currently under consultation.

The director of economy and environment is currently consulting staff on restructuring the directorate to ensure that it is fit for purpose and sustainable over the coming months. This takes into account that some of the responsibilities currently in this service area will be delivered under the Highways PFI contract in the near future.

Your statement that the decision was made by four officers with no right of appeal or a hearing is entirely inaccurate. No decision has yet been taken. The proposed restructure is following our agreed processes and consultation with staff is currently underway. The final structure will only be published once the consultation is complete and the views of staff taken into consideration. All employment rights are being and will continue to be met throughout this process.

It is nonsense to suggest that the internal staffing structure of the Council, now or in the future, has any bearing on the ability of householders to obtain insurance. Under the proposals currently being consulted on, the ability of the Council to monitor the Island’s coastline is intended to be enhanced rather than reduced. This is one of the facts you failed to check before issuing your inflammatory letter to the media.

Despite your ill-informed assertion, no decision as to the structure of the coastal management team has yet been taken, however when it is taken it will be a matter for the senior management of the Council to determine the most suitable structure and for members to satisfy themselves that the Council will continue to be able to deliver its priorities in an efficient and effective manner. Notwithstanding the fact that there may well be changes following the consultation process, we are satisfied that the proposed structure will ensure that the coastal management function will be resilient, effective and efficient in the future.

Whilst touching on the priorities of the Council in this respect, I would like to remind you of the fact that – thanks to this administration’s decision to accept a Highways PFI Grant from the Government – a number of roads around the Island, including many in coastal locations such as the Military Road, Bouldnor Road and the Undercliff, will benefit from stabilisation schemes over the next few years. These stabilisation schemes form part of our wider efforts to tackle the very issues which the Coastal Management function oversees.

Given the scale of the considerable improvements that will come into place as a result of the Highways PFI scheme, there is no doubt in my mind that the positive impact of such stabilisation schemes is of far greater significance to the future of the Island (and its coastline) than how the IW Council chooses to organise its internal staffing structure. The administration I lead recognises this because we are less interested in the finer detail of internal structures and more interested in getting on with the job through much-needed schemes such as these.

If you agree, I suggest that your concern in this respect should be more appropriately directed at those IW Councillors who voted against (or refused to support) the Highways PFI scheme (including some copied into your email) – as if their efforts had succeeded our roads (many by the coastline) would have missed out on these many significant improvements that are now due to come into place. If you would a like a list of these councillors, I will happily provide it to you – as you may wish to raise with them why they voted against investment in stabilisation schemes that are of critical importance to the future of the Island.

Kind regards, David
Cllr David Pugh | Leader of the Isle of Wight Council

Monday, 25th March, 2013 8:59am


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2aCz

Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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26 Comments on "IW Council leader accuses Ventnor council of ‘hysterical scaremongering’ over break up of Coastal Management Team"

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sam salt
What pure and utter arrogance, he truely has lost the plot. The letter shows nothing but contempt. Under the Code of Conduct to which Mr Pugh has signed up it says you should treat others with respect. If he does feel that IWALC have got some points wrong fine, however, he did not have to write to Mr Medland in this way. David please remember the old… Read more »
@sam salt. Respect went out of the window along time ago, along with all the other seven principles of the code of conduct. This ‘Leader’ is out of his depth and frantically drowning at the moment and his adoption of attack first is getting very boring and the sign of a desperate man. His new South African pit bull is from the same mould and actually created… Read more »

Not only does he live up to the name ‘Pugherile’ in spades, in places he appears lacking in basic literacy skills…


quote “thanks to this administration’s decision to accept a Highways PFI Grant from the Government ” unquote

Grant? is this correct?


It’s been called a number of things lately. My local Tory councillor called it a gift a couple of days ago.

sam salt
Good point Colin. A grant in my understanding does not have to be paid back. I think our Leader doesn’t understand the PFI concept at all. David, it is a loan, and has to be repaid. If you don’t understand this one fundamental perhaps those that voted against PFI or didn’t support it understood the concept more than you. Can you please let us have a list… Read more »
The Corrector

I’m sorry SS but you are wrong.

It is a grant not a loan. It does not have to be repaid.

However, alongside the grant, the council have committed to paying £7.3m per annum for 25 years plus inflation.

This money goes to the PFI contractor in addition to the grant from the Government.

@ the Corrector: That is what it is beginning to look like. To extrapolate all of this it seems the Island will be getting more roads looked after for the same money ..! About £18M worth of work each year instead of about £8M .. Can this be right..? Have the Government just handed over £260M to the Island…? Is there a catch…? It’s beginning to look… Read more »
The Corrector

It’s always been that way. Reported on here by Sally and Simon many times.

Yes, the government are handing over about £260m and this is being matched by £7.3m pa by the council.

This money will have to be paid every year for 25 years, plus inflation, regardless of any other budget constraints, ie. PFI first, everything else afterwards.

sam salt
Quote from an article in public finance dated 1st April: “For two decades the Private Finance Initiative has been the only game in town for financing public infrastructure. Now pressure is mounting for the private firms that have done so well out of it to put something back into the public coffers The last Labour government was a big fan of the Private Finance Initiative. As chancellor,… Read more »
sam salt

I think the devil is in the content. Let’s as the QA in Portsmouth, who received a PFI Grant/Loan/Gift what they understand they got. I think they are having problems paying back their loan. (Their words not mine).

It seems that the Council are insisting it is a grant: http://www.iwight.com/highways-pfi/defs.asp I suspect these answers are hiding other *detail* but, on the face of it, it seems this money is a *grant* from central government (one of three if you believe the PR)across the UK for this type of iniative. It’s curious isn’t it? On this information it seems the Government has handed (or will be… Read more »

Also, from the archive, this:


Which has some interesting stuff in it.
For example, the PFI in Portsmouth….. some budget data for current spend at the end and nothing about Coastal Management…


The Corrector

See my comment above. The figure the council have committed to pay is £7.3m pa for 25 years.

Btw, I don’t agree with the PFI scheme, just keen to ensure that the correct FACTS are stated as there seems to be some confusion.

My thoughts and feelings exactly. I’m getting ever more curious about how and why these schemes *appear* to be failing. If we are to believe the Council (and others..) there is a *grant* (I use the term very loosely) which central government have made to the Island and for which there is no repayment of the capital. The scheme appears to insist that the IOW pay into… Read more »
James Luke
One immediate catch is that we are all national taxpayers. Therefore a “grant” from central government is NOT free money – we, as taxpayers, will be paying back that money for many, many years. At a time of increasing national debt, surely pouring money into the discredited PFI process is madness. The problem is that at a local level everyone believes they are getting a good deal… Read more »
Was Blue, now feeling it
As someone who has voted Conservative, it’s really sad to read this (I’m sorry to say) petulant outburst from David Pugh and I fear it could be the undoing of him and damaging to the island’s Conservative vote as a whole. This doesn’t convey a caring party, but one filled with anger. All I can think, having read him repeat himself over and over at the start… Read more »
Chris Welsford
I don’t think he was drunk. We have had to endure this type of behaviour from him in the Council Chamber at almost every Full Council Meeting and recently at Scrutiny too. He constantly accuses other members of what he terms “falsehoods”. These so called falsehoods are inevitably truths about his policies and their effects on Islanders. There was a short period about a year ago when… Read more »
The trouble with David Pugh is that he’s a bit like the emperor in the emperor’s new cloths, in that he has surrounded himself with politicians and officers who tell him exactly what he wants to hear. He has the arrogance to assume that only he and his trusted advisors can see what is required. Unfortunately the people that he has decided to take advice from are… Read more »
James Luke

Councillor Pugh does of course have form for accusing those who object to his plans of “scaremongering”.

In the case of the Asphalt Plant, when challenged he wasn’t able to provide any substance =>


Robert Jones
This is the problem with immediate response when you’re in a huff. In the old days, you could write a letter, put it in an envelope – but no stamp – and by the cold light of next day realize you can’t possibly say that, and rip the thing up. These days, communication is instant: more like rapid fire than placing a bomb carefully and waiting for… Read more »
So: David Pugh and Stuart Love have decided to throw the Coastal Management Team up in the air and see where the bits land. The people at the wrong end of this exercise have known for some time that this was going on, but the rest of us have only just found out because, until it was leaked, it was being treated (disgracefully) as an internal staffing… Read more »
honest john

poor blind Pugh. He cannot see what lies ahead for him if he does not listen to those he is supposed to represent

Black Dog
The above letter from the Boy Blunder only proves my theory: David Pugh is suffering from Hubris syndrome Hubris syndrome is characterized by a loss of contact with reality, a reckless and restless impulse ultimately ending in incompetence. It is also described as – an excessive self-confidence along with overwhelming contempt for others. Is hubris an exaggerated form of normal leadership characteristics? Or is hubris in political… Read more »
Hubris indeed! Everyday people are already being harmed and will be continued to be harmed unless rational people get out and vote. Generations have fought long and hard for basic rights but boy blunder, living in cloud cuckoo land, actually believes his own trumpton town nonsense. As do a number of other die hard converts. Hubris is spreading and requires a swift attention before it becomes a… Read more »
Given the subject matter, it might be an idea to start throwing some context into this discussion. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/25/frozen-spring-arctic-sea-ice-loss?CMP=twt_gu “With more solar energy going into the Arctic Ocean because of lost ice, there is reason to expect more extreme weather events, such as heavy snowfall, heat waves, and flooding in North America and Europe,” said the researchers. “These are the sort of changes that are going to affect… Read more »