Councillors last night (Wednesday) voted against a plan for the Isle of Wight to become part of a new Solent Mayoral Combined Authority, despite neighbouring Southampton City Council and Portsmouth City Council deciding to back the proposal.
Executive Members of the Isle of Wight Council will now meet on Monday to make a final decision on the matter, which could see the Isle of Wight become part of an authority with an elected mayor. The new authority set up would allow the retention of business rates locally and it is said that £30million for 30 years would be secured. The Isle of Wight Council would still have decision-making powers.
If the Executive decide to side with the Full Council’s vote, which came in at 16 votes in favour with 17 against and 2 abstentions, then the future of the devolution plan is unclear.
Commenting on the defeat of the motion, Isle of Wight Conservative Group Council Leader Dave Stewart said:
“Conservatives voted against the motion because we didn’t feel the deal in its current form with the current governance arrangements was right for the Island. There has been little support for it amongst residents, and there were some very significant question marks over it.
“It wasn’t only Conservatives who voted against the motion. Independent and UKIP groups also opposed the Solent devolution deal. Two members of the ruling group abstained. So we know there are cross-party concerns.
“We now encourage Council leader Jonathan Bacon to work with all groups in the Council to re-examine the issue of devolution and to look at the fullest range of options, including reengaging with Hampshire County Council.”