Cllr Jonathan Bacon receives the petition from Jean Orman, left, and Cllr Heather Humby. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
UNPRECEDENTED numbers of Sandown residents, fed up with the town’s dilapidated buildings, have signed a petition urging Isle of Wight planners to kick-start regeneration.
An estimated 40 per cent of Sandown’s voting population signed a petition complaining that planning red tape on properties dilapidated for several years was having a 'marked impact’ on efforts to make the town more attractive to tourists.
Former Sandown mayor, Cllr Heather Humby, handed the 2,031-signature bundle to Cllr Jonathan Bacon, the Isle of Wight Council’s cabinet member for planning, at County Hall on Monday. Cllr Bacon, said he welcomed the petition, recognised the concerns it reflected and was keen to find solutions to planning problems.
However, he absolved planners from blame for the complexity of the issues that have held up progress.
Cllr Humby said many landmark buildings needed urgent action following complaints from property owners and developers over planning department delays. She urged planners to take urgent action to resolve issues.
"Some of the buildings are not only a danger to the public, they are having a detrimental effect on tourism," said Cllr Humby.
Eyesore buildings affected by planning problems include the Savoy Court, Grand Hotel, Wight City and the Royal Cliff Apartments.
Cllr Bacon said: "Work is under way to help Sandown. It is an important town for tourism. Sandown Town Council and Sandown Forum have been given a detailed response on issues affecting some of the properties and the area action plan for the Bay area is being brought forward to help address issues relating to Sandown."