The last month has been a trying one for the administration.

Four members of my Cabinet have had Covid and we have had to cancel and postpone meetings as a result; some have been quite unwell.

However, we would much prefer to be safe, than take risks.

It has, however, brought home the fact that we are still in the midst of a pandemic.

We must remain conscious of the need to take precautions and we must remain alert of the risks that Covid still presents.

Despite this we have still been able to take some important steps forward.

With our status as a UNESCO Biosphere very much in mind, the application to drill for oil in Arreton was turned down unanimously by the cross-party planning committee.

I am happy with this decision as it ties in very much with the way we want to take the Island forward, particularly bearing in mind our Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan.

In addition to this we have been able to advance the project to redevelop the transport interchange at Ryde, we have brought forward a Bus Service Improvement Plan, we have taken positive steps to resolve the Floating Bridge issue and, as a result of applications submitted within a month of us taking up office, we have been able to secure £5.8million funding to help regenerate East Cowes.

After five months we are now setting the new direction for the council.

We have published our new Corporate Plan, which will be discussed in detail at the full council meeting on November 17.

It sets out a programme, including our key aims to care for our environment, achieve economic recovery and, most importantly, deal with our housing crisis.

It sometimes seems like we are trying to knit with fog while walking through treacle, to improve things but we are determined, and with the direction we have set, continued public support, and the unity of the Alliance grouping of councillors, and others across the chamber, we will strive to do everything we can to help, support and advance our precious Island.