A 'COSTLY mistake' made by a Conservative administration — the councillor involved in the scrutiny of the Isle of Wight Council's decision to relinquish shares in a tidal energy company and give up rights attached to its £1 million loan has hit back at the ruling party.

On Monday, after the original decision made by the council's cabinet faced criticism, the corporate scrutiny committee voted again to support the funding issue surrounding the Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC), which is based off the coast of St Catherine's Point in Niton.

As a bid to help the company succeed, the council gave permission for up to ten per cent of its shares to be sold and with that gave up it priority lender status and its seat on the PTEC board — a decision that left some councillors unsure.

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Cllr Michael Lilley, who disagreed with part of the decision, was defeated at the scrutiny committee meeting after he proposed the council kept its seat and original loan terms.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Lilley said he agreed with the council stopping further investment but said all evidence points at the fact the council will lose the original investment as it looked like PTEC will fail.

He said: "I am always hopeful if you present good and strong evidence you can convince people of your argument. The reality is the Conservative administration has a majority on the corporate scrutiny committee now and I cannot see them ever voting against their own administration however strong the argument.

"All I have seen since 2017, especially new evidence from the Undercliff Community Group presented to members, clearly shows giving up primary lender rights and a seat on the PTEC Board is a costly mistake.

"PTEC has become a horse that perhaps once had some potential but has not won any races for years and is now at 1000-1."

However, former IW Council leader David Pugh, who was heavily involved in getting funding at the start of PTEC, said he welcomed the decision.

He said: "In January 2013, we made a Cabinet decision to establish a joint venture company (PTEC) to deliver the Solent Ocean Energy Centre — there were some risks involved, but it was considered that the economic and ecological benefits to the Island outweighed them."

Since 2013, there have been slight problems which held the project up and in 2017 prevented progression entirely.

Read more: PTEC tidal energy plans on hold but chairman claims project still has potential

Mr Pugh said: "The prospects have recently improved so it is right that a renewed effort is now made to get PTEC going again.

"While the delays have been unfortunate I am pleased to see what we started in 2013 has continued to be supported by both my independent and Conservative successors as council leader.

"I welcome the scrutiny committee's decision, which again showed support for the project from Conservative and independent councillors. PTEC can now finally be taken forward to help lead the green recovery from Covid."