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The Isle of Wight council has defended its consultation on the Arreton oil drilling application after critics claimed it was inadequate.

A motion calling for the public consultation surrounding the application to be withdrawn and reintroduced at a different time came before the council’s planning committee Tuesday night 3 months after it was deferred by the full council.

Since July, the public consultation has ended but attracted more than 900 comments, with over 90 % objecting to the application.

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When the motion was first submitted by Councilor John Medland, however, the application’s consultation was live.

Cllr Medland argued the current practices failed to comply with the relevant legislative provisions and asked the consultation to be reinstated at a time when the public could inspect paper copies of plans, physical attendance at meetings could happen and a site visit be undertaken.

He said:

“It appears the current consultation procedure being followed is not proportionate to the potential impact of the development.”

Last night, councillors on the planning committee unanimously rejected the motion, following warnings from the council’s strategic planning manager Ollie Boulter.

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Mr Boulter said:

“These (what) regulations were enacted to support timely decision making and to avoid delays while maintaining public participation in the decision-making process.”

“A number of changes were introduced including the removal of the need to make documents available to inspect.”

“These changes being introduced broadly coincided with lockdown restrictions easing, so officers felt there were no reasonable grounds to hold back this and other applications.”

Mr Boulter said the implications if the committee supported the motion, and told the officers not to determine the application, would mean the applicants, UK Oil and Gas, could appeal the decision which would lead to the final decision being made by the Planning Inspectorate off the Island.

Councillor Matthew Price said he understood why the motion was being submitted but the committee would be ‘absolutely stupid’ to accept this motion.

He said:

“To allow this decision to be decided off the Island and be determined by someone else would be an absolute failure of the individuals on the committee.”

Mr Boulter admitted the officers were some way off determining the application.

Chair of the committee, Councillor Chris Quirk, agreed with calls for the meeting at which the the application is determined should be held in person but said it was not likely to come before the committee before December.

It was also agreed a site visit must happen as it was ‘essential’ in determining the application. All but one councillor agreed to the site visit. Councillor Brian Tyndall abstained.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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‘Grease the Palms’ never a more appropriate adage one can guess.

Kev Butler

Vote this council OUT next time. They care nothing for the Island, or the people, only themselves and their developer pals, enrichening one another at the expense of the Island’s beauty, standard of living for its residents and destroying it’s wildlife, and future ‘charm’ as a holiday destination.
Allowing this in the most food productive area on Wight, shows they care nothing about farming either.
Greedy self serving low life.
Ensure you and all you know vote these parasites out next given chance.


I quote “the removal of the need to make documents available to inspect”
Which denies the public their legal right to see those documents.
I suppose they also turned the motion down because they didn’t want the application decided by someone from the mainland, makes one wonder why?
Is this another classic “we do it our way and up yours” attitude and “there’s nothing you can do about it”?


Yes, breaks the freedom of information act.

Taste the cheese .

Excellent news.

The Truth

Let’s get drilling… So much potential to make money off of this island .. Glad I moved here now..

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