Following the OntheWight revelation published yesterday regarding IWC director Stuart Love’s plans to break up of the well-respected Coastal Management Team, this received from Ventnor Town Council. In their own words, Ed
At its meeting this week, Ventnor Town Council unanimously agreed to make public its serious concerns about the Isle of Wight Council’s intention to dispose of its Coastal Management team.
With a coastline of over 100 kilometres, 40% of which has to be defended, the team clearly has a major contribution to make to the Island’s life, yet they are involved in a 30-day consultation period of a major restructure by Director of Economy & Environment Stuart Love of his staff.
Post of Principal Coastal Engineer going
His paper setting out his proposals under delegated powers, states that the post of Principal Coastal Engineer [currently held by the respected Peter Marsden] is no longer required.
His three colleagues, while not facing redundancy, are being dispersed: one to Island Roads, another to the Planning Policy Team and the third to the Recreation, Leisure and Public Spaces Team.
The new structure will be in place from 15 April.
Concerns over funding
There is also a concern that the significant funding for Coastal Management that the Isle of Wight Council receives as part of central government’s annual grant will, in the absence of a team, be diverted elsewhere given that it isn’t ring-fenced.
Ventnor has its own concerns: a long coastline that is under threat while also being both a major tourist attraction and a site of special significance for international understanding of coastal change.
Prompting public debate
But the Town Council was also very aware of similar concerns for the whole Island and resolved to do everything possible to prompt public debate before it is too late to preserve what it believes to be an essential service.
Image: © Used with permission of Benjamin Tonner