THERE are three new councillors at County Hall — but they are not strangers to the council chamber.

Daryll Pitcher of the Vectis Party, Independent Phil Jordan, and Jonathan Bacon of Our Island, have all previously been members of the Isle of Wight Council — but were not part of the last administration.

We asked them some questions about their return.

What years have you previously served on the council?

Daryll: I served from 2013 to 2017.

Phil: I served as a cabinet member between 2013 and 2017. Since 2017 I have been instrumental in transforming Ryde Town Council into a go-ahead council.

Jonathan: I previously served as an Isle of Wight councillor from 2009 to 2017.

How do you feel to be back?

Daryll: I’m very happy to be returning as the member for Wootton Bridge.

Phil: It is an odd feeling because I return to an Isle of Wight Council where I know so many of the staff from our past working relationship but where there are significant changes as well. My initial impression is that the council has really upped its game with a fantastic internal IT system, good equipment and much more scope to work online. I have much more to give, to help us develop and improve our Island through innovation, creativity and aspiration to overcome some very serious issues we face. I am very much looking forward to the challenge ahead.

Jonathan: I am obviously glad to be back, or I would not have stood for election! I feel I can contribute to taking the council forward after the last four years where we have seen it going nowhere in ever decreasing circles. Things feel very different at the moment as we still have restrictions on how we work as a result of the pandemic, but it looks as if these restrictions will not be with us for much longer. I hope things will then be different for other reasons!

Isle of Wight County Press: Daryll Pitcher.Daryll Pitcher.

What will be different this time round?

Daryll: I think experience plays a big part in being an effective councillor. I felt that last time I was only just beginning to truly understand how to get things done when my term ended. This time I have been able to hit the ground running and immediately tackle issues that have been brought to me during the campaign.

Phil: Things will be different for numbers of reasons. The councillors are different, there is a broader spectrum of new councillors and I sincerely hope councillors of all persuasions will work towards a common goal and put aside the petty tribal politics I experienced four years ago.

Jonathan: 61 per cent of those who voted in the election clearly stated they wanted to see something different from what has gone before. As such the new council are charged with the task and responsibility to take things forward and effect positive change for the benefit of residents and local businesses.

Isle of Wight County Press: Phil Jordan.Phil Jordan.

What are the challenges?

Daryll: The make-up of the new council chamber will be a challenge. The chances of a stable administration are lower than they might be, but also this gives potential clout to those outside the cabinet. Individual members have far more say under a 'no overall control' council.

Phil: There are numerous pressing issues, but councillors can be united in one thing. The financial predicament is very precarious and if we are to succeed, a consensus must be reached to deliver what is best for Island residents of all ages. There is no magic money tree, or a hidden cupboard stashed with vast sums of cash; what you see at budget time is what you get. Ten years of cuts to funding from Government have taken their toll and we must come together to make the best of what we have. The floating bridge is a pressing problem and the Island is looking for a permanent solution that guarantees a sustainable and efficient working crossing. We must establish a better system for planning to ensure we are building houses of the right type in the right place. The current developments in Ryde East are unsustainable and the numbers just not adaptable to the Island needs.

Jonathan: At the time of writing the main challenge is to secure clear leadership and direction for the Council. The 61 per cent of voters who voted for something new must have their wishes respected and, as things stand, I have every confidence this will be achieved.

Isle of Wight County Press:

What’s your first task?

Daryll: I have already started to deliver on the pledges I made to the people of Wootton Bridge during the election. I have also started action on a number of personal issues people have brought to me by tackling senior officers to get the problems resolved.

Phil: First task is the Annual General Meeting where the chairman and leader are chosen. Depending on the outcome of this meeting my own role could be very different in the council but whatever transpires I am committed to making a positive difference for our Island community by working with other councillors.

Jonathan: I became a councillor to help improve things on the Island in whatever way my skills and experience can best assist. The next four years are about working together, both within the council and within the wider community. In this regard there is much we can draw on from the response to the pandemic by our local communities.

What do you hope to achieve as councillor?

Daryll: I am currently focused on ward work. We have a number of pressing highways issues including the generally accepted need for 20mph speed limits and a number of resurfacing requirements. I am also ready to do battle to protect the village from over-development.

Phil: I hope to finally achieve returning the Town Hall in Ryde back to our community for use for generations to come. I’ve worked hard for two years to realise this ambition and determined to make it happen without any further delay.

Jonathan: I would particularly like to continue work I have undertaken with and alongside the AONB in protecting and enhancing our environment as well as seeing our small businesses, hospitality and events related sectors that have suffered so much in the last year allowed to re-establish and grow.

What do you love about the Island?

Daryll: Its unique character and nature. There is so much variety packed into quite a small area. There is history, arts and rare ecology around every corner. I am particularly interested in the industrial history we have. The list of inventions and 'firsts' is quite amazing. The Island is a special place and deserves special attention. That is why the Vectis Party was formed and why I am proud to lead it.

Phil: Like most residents, I love this Island and what it is and what it offers to all of us and our families, the welcome we give to visitors, the Island spirit and the beautiful places and beaches we are lucky to possess. Who would want to be anywhere else in the world?

Jonathan: I can't identify one or two things, there's too much. If you want a short answer: 'being here'.