A BIG shake-up of the Isle of Wight Council has seen new and familiar faces appointed to some of the most important roles in the authority.

Following the downfall of the Conservative administration, the new Alliance Group took control and filled the roles from Chairman and Vice-Chair to cabinet members and the new leader.

With plenty of changes to keep track of from last Wednesday's council meeting, here is the new who's who of the Isle of Wight Council (and what they will be in charge of).

Cllr Lora Peacey Wilcox — Leader

Isle of Wight County Press:

Beating Conservative party leader Cllr Steve Hastings to the top position (in a 20 to 18 vote), Cllr Peacey-Wilcox said the Island now has a new political culture — one of political inclusion rather than competition.

She said: "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."

Covid-19 recovery, car parking charges and issues with planning and housing have been earmarked as top priorities for Cllr Peacey-Wilcox.

Cllr Ian Stephens — Deputy Leader

Isle of Wight County Press:

Former leader of the Isle of Wight Council (between 2013 and 2015), Cllr Stephens is to take stock of where things stand, focusing on areas where concerns have been raised by residents and 'raising the game' of services that need it.

He said: "We have done what the electorate wanted us to do - take over the administration. It is going to be difficult, with the slim majority, but we have to look at consensus and take things forward in a positive manner."

Cllr Stephens said the £6.4m 'Island Deal' from government was very high on the group's list of priorities, but they would also be pushing for money for different services as well.

Cllr Chris Jarman - Cabinet member for Corporate Resources

Isle of Wight County Press:

A deep dive into the council's finances is top of the agenda for the new man in charge of the budget.

Embracing the challenges, Cllr Jarman said he is looking forward to it.

He said: "I am sure everyone in the group will have issues that are important to them as an individual but the key thing is we have come together as an alliance; we have been willing to bury some of those hatchets and work together for the sake of the Island, putting it on a good path for the future.

"I wouldn’t say I was relaxed but I do feel very confident and I know I have got a great, strong team behind me."

Cllr Karl Love — Cabinet member for Adult Social Care, Public Health and Housing Needs

Isle of Wight County Press:

Taking control of the biggest portfolio in the council's cabinet, Cllr Love has promised to do whatever he can to reduce the level of savings needed to be found in the services.

He said: "There will be change but it has to be managed; until I have seen the books it is difficult to say.

"The finances are going to be challenging as we have inherited a legacy of cutting back services.

"The [2021/22] budget showed savings needed to be made in adult social care and I will do whatever I can to protect and reduce that saving so it doesn’t have such an impact."

However, while he will be assessing each of the proposed savings Cllr Love said they will still have to work within the budget set as "there is not any more money, we cannot spend what we have not got."

Cllr Debbie Andre — Cabinet member for Children's Education, Services and Skills

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cllr Andre has said she has hit the ground running with three urgent issues in her portfolio — the proposed closure of Chillerton and Rookley Primary School; the published admission numbers across the Island, especially at Cowes Enterprise College; and the proposed schedule for the term dates for 2022/23.

Although, she said: "Until I have delved much deeper, I am not going to know what the current situation is."

However, Cllr Andre has promised she will do everything she can to ensure parents and students get the choices they deserve.

Cllr Phil Jordan — Cabinet member for Transport and Infrastructure

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cllr Jordan said he would start making positive decisions to make improvements to the PFI contract and look at the options for the Floating Bridge, ensuring there is "a permanent, sustainable and efficient crossing."

Speaking about the new Alliance Group, Cllr Jordan said he hoped it would be a positive change for the Island and its community.

Cllr Julie Jones-Evans — Cabinet member for Regeneration and Business 

Isle of Wight County Press:

Not just physical but cultural regeneration is on the cards for the Isle of Wight under Cllr Jones-Evans. 

She said: "[I'll be] looking at the arts and seeing what part they can play in creating jobs and a noise about the Island.

"The aim is to get people talking about how great it is; our natural beauty and our culture have all got a part to play, as well as the nuts and bolts of manufacturing and regular jobs."

A permanent collection of art forms could be one option, Cllr Jones-Evans said, and the council's own 'treasures' could form a collection of its own.

Cllr Paul Fuller - Cabinet member for Planning and Housing

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cllr Fuller confirmed one of his primary focuses, once things have settled down, will be to get the government to shrink the housing target.

Proposed changes to the housing target announced last October would see the Island's target of 640 new houses built each year increase to 1,045.

Cllr Fuller said they are very much being steered by the government's housing policy and the proposed white paper would threaten greenfield sites on the Island.

Planning officers are working on this, he said, but "we have to be able to work with the stipulations, and if we do not, we need to give a good reason why we cannot."

Cllr Jonathan Bacon — Cabinet member for Environment, Heritage and Waste Management

Isle of Wight County Press:

Former leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Cllr Bacon has made action on derelict buildings a key focus, restoring the Island's heritage and bring them back into use.

Cllr Bacon also hoped "to carry on strengthening the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty [following years as chair of the AONB] and the Biosphere and see how that can help the Island in leisure, business and preserving our environment."

With still 'a good case' for the Island to achieve dark skies status, Cllr Bacon said he will see what can be done to pursue the accreditation which has been 'held up' in recent years.

Cllr Geoff Brodie — Chair

Isle of Wight County Press:

Taking the reins of the Isle of Wight Council's busiest, and most crucial, meetings is Cllr Brodie who says he never sought the position — but is clear that more needs to be done to bring democracy back to the Island.

Cllr Brodie said those who had been in meetings with him in the past where he was chair, including at meetings of Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council, will know he is 'fairly knowledgable and tough'.

He said: "I wish to make the council far more open in its decision making, far more accountable to councillors and the wider Island public and more transparent than we have experienced in the last four years."

Cllr Claire Critchison — Vice-Chair

Isle of Wight County Press:

A new face to the council, having beaten former council and Conservative party leader Dave Stewart for his seat, Cllr Critchison was elected as vice-chair. 

In a 20 to 18 vote, Cllr Critchison defeated Cllr Ray Redrup for the position. 

Speaking about her election to the council earlier this month, Cllr Critchison said: "I have been overwhelmed by the response from residents during my campaign and as the results show, they had faith in me to be their choice."

Check out more local political coverage here.