A HEATED debate took place at the Isle of Wight full council meeting last night (Wednesday), with members voting to limit the number of petitions that come before the chamber.

Members agreed no more than three petitions could be submitted for any one meeting. Petitions will only be considered if they relate to a subject within direct control of the council.

If the petition is on the same matter as a current Isle of Wight consultation, it will not be referred to the council for debate. If there is not time on the agenda, it will not be referred to the next meeting.

The changes were agreed by 22 votes in favour, with 12 against.

Cllr Geoff Brodie (Independent Labour) said: “We have gone through a rise in the number of petitions and now you are going to make it harder for people to submit them.”

Voting against the motion, Cllr Karl Love (Independent) said: “It’s the only way people can connect with us from outside of this building and that’s to be encouraged.”

Cllr Ian Stephens (Island Independent) added: “You will regret the way you started to close down petitions. Think about what the petitions have been about.”

He added the chamber had only debated four petitions in two years.

Responding, Cllr Clare Mosdell (Conservative) said: “You are here representing your wards, that is how people communicate with us.

“These days it’s so easy for anyone to set up a petition — for example with the cross-Solent travel. But what that did was stop people engaging with the consultation because they would sign the petition on Facebook and think that was it.”

Cllr Stuart Hutchinson said the changes would mean excess time would not be taken up with debates and would ensure meetings did not overrun.