An Isle of Wight councillor is criticising meetings surrounding the Floating Bridge for what he is calling a ‘lack of transparency’, and the ‘exclusion of the community’.

East Cowes Councillor Karl Love says he walked out of a Floating Bridge User Group meeting last night (Monday) because chair Councillor Ian Ward ‘refused’ to allow the meeting to be held openly.

The group is made up of Councillor Ward, four local ward members, a Floating Bridge operational staff member, Floating Bridge service manager, and six Floating Bridge user card holders.

Councillor Love said:

“I challenged the fact that it’s a closed meeting to the public and it should be open. I stated I don’t believe it to be transparent and there was a refusal to include the East Cowes user group as a bonafide member which Councillor Ward described as a political group and activists. This group were told by Councillor Stuart at Scrutiny meetings that they would be included.”

The Isle of Wight Council says minutes if the meeting will be published here.

A spokesperson said:

“We invited more than 3000 floating bridge users to express an interest in joining the group. Approximately 100 people expressed an interest in taking part. We used a random number generator to identify six individuals to participate in the user group meeting.”

When asked why is set up as a closed group, they added:

“Given that the details from the meetings will be widely available, it was considered a more constructive approach to conduct the meetings in this way. However, the views of other users/residents are welcome.

Members of the public who were part of the group were allowed opportunities to raise their issues and this will be reflected in the notes. They gave valid points which will be fully considered.”

The group can be contacted via [email protected]

We have requested an interview with Chair, Councillor Ian Ward.