‘It is an overwhelming challenge but the public voted for change so we are doing that’ – that’s some the new leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Councillor Lora Peacey-Wilcox, who has received more than 700 congratulatory messages since her election at Wednesday’s full council meeting.
Wining the leadership race against the Conservative’s Councillor Steve Hastings, by 2 votes (20 to 18) Cllr Peacey-Wilcox said the next step is to find out exactly where the council is with projects and each portfolio, with cabinet members asking some searching questions.
“The first thing we need to focus on is the Covid recovery as that has an effect on our mental health, our physical wellbeing, everything. The economic recovery of our towns and shops are very important.”
Cllr Peacey-Wilcox now fronts the Alliance Group, made from independent and party political councillors, taking control of the council, who now face an ‘overwhelming challenge’.
“Sixty-one per cent of Islanders voted for a change, we have to make an attempt to make that change because the public would never forgive us.
“We have done that and with public support, I am hoping we will get somewhere.”
While the Conservatives failed to win the majority in the 6th May elections, lost control of the council and then the leadership race, Cllr Peacey-Wilcox hoped both sides of the chamber would have been able to work together. She said:
“Cllr Hastings wrote a letter all to work together, all to be lovey-dovey and then you had two pieces of venom spat across the chamber. They give in one hand and take in the other.”
Cllr Peacey-Wilcox said they have offered friendship and are willing to work with people by putting Cllr John Nicholson in as chair of the health and social care policy and scrutiny committee as well as opening up to scrutiny, by restoring reverse proportionality.
“If the Conservatives wish to scrutinise us, they can. It just shows how we are open and transparent and they clearly were not.”
An issue in Cllr Peacey-Wilcox’s ward of Cowes Medina has been the troublesome Floating Bridge, which she says she and fellow Cllr Karl Love were barred from receiving information about, by former leader Dave Stewart.
Moving ahead to fix the problems with the vessel, she said due to the lack of information, they don’t know where they are with the Floating Bridge so it is something they will have to uncover. Plans have been made, however, for the Bridge but nothing that can be acted on yet.
Speaking about the influx of congratulations she has received, Cllr Peacey-Wilcox said she was flabbergasted…
“I would love to get back to everybody she said but I am absolutely overwhelmed and I would like their support at all times — I will be calling on them!”
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