Colin Midmore

Sandown Town Council has been accused of ‘turning their backs on the public – both physically and metaphorically’.

However, Mayor Garry Young has hit back at the allegations, claiming the town council is going through “transition with limited resources available”.

Frustrated Islanders have taken to the Sandown Hub Facebook Page to voice concerns – following a town council meeting on Monday.

Posting on Facebook, one Islander raised issues, such as the way town councillors were sat – with their backs to the public.

However, Cllr Young says “the new format of Town Council meetings is in line with the format at Isle of Wight Council meetings”.

Facebook

Sandown Mayor, Cllr Gary Young told Isle of Wight Radio:

“Following our Public Meeting in January, attended by over 100 residents, we have increased the accessibility of the Council with our new Clerk team available daily between 9am and Noon (an increase of 50%), and our Town Council Meetings now include powerpoint presentations which necessitate members, and members of the Public, being able to see the presentation – something that has never happened previously.

“The new format of Town Council meetings is in line with the format at IW Council meetings, with members and the public facing the Chair person, and all questions being asked through the chair – unlike other Councils on the Island, Sandown provide a 15 minute public question time at the start of the meeting and 10 minutes at the end of the meeting, in addition to increased staff availability, improved accessibility such as parking and individual councillors holding surgeries in the Town.

Cllr Young added:

“The Town Council are going through transition within the limited resources available, with increased Public Meetings and Consultative Events at the Broadway Centre, as well as increasing the amount of information provided on line, and stakeholder inclusion in working parties – for a relatively small Town Council this is very inclusive and transparent, and the number that stayed behind after the meeting to talk through specific issues was heartening.”