A councillor has hit out about not being able to properly scrutinise actions taken around Floating Bridge 6 as legal proceedings are still ongoing.
At a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council’s corporate scrutiny committee on Tuesday night, councillors received a report into the procurement of the vessel, following 43 questions submitted last November by the chair of the committee, Councillor Richard Hollis.
With the mediation supposed to go ahead in January, councillors would have been able to look at the outcomes of the process. Due to COVID-19, however, the mediation was delayed, and according to Cllr Hollis not all questions can currently be answered for fear of affecting the legal proceedings.
During public questions at the meeting, 10 were asked about the Floating Bridge but 6 could not be answered due to the legal proceedings.
Expressing her frustrations, Councillor Julie Jones-Evans said she understood why her questions could not be answered but did not see why the item was on the agenda as the scrutiny committee could not do it justice and ask the questions they wanted to. She said:
“We should have deferred this to our next meeting when we would be able to talk about things.
“There is a lot of effort that has gone into this but we cannot do our jobs.”
Cllr Jones-Evans said she had a stack of questions she would like to ask and some real concerns but did not want to put the council in a position that would jeopardise a good result from the mediation.
Cllr Hollis said at the time his questions were submitted, it was not known that the mediation would still be ongoing but there was ‘nothing wrong’ with trying to correct the ‘misinformation and conjecture’ that was going around.