Footpath plan for Undercliff Drive

By Martin Neville

Thursday, August 21, 2014

 

Footpath plan for Undercliff Drive

Homes had to be evacuated and the road closed when Undercliff Drive suffered a landslip in February. Picture by Peter Boam.

THE most likely short-term solution for Undercliff Drive will be to reopen it as a cycleway and footpath, according to a senior Isle of Wight councillor.

The news came as many of those affected attended a meeting at Ventnor Botanic Garden to put forward their views of what should happen to the road, which collapsed during winter storms.

Council deputy leader Cllr Steve Stubbings said options for the stricken road would be discussed by the executive next month, when he believed a decision would be made on an interim solution.

He said while it was clear the authority could not currently afford to restore full vehicle access, money was available for an interim solution such as a cycleway and footpath, which he believed was the most likely outcome of the meeting on September 9.

He said full costings for the work would be presented at the meeting but his understanding was it was likely to be a six-figure sum.

The organiser behind yesterday’s Undercliff Drive consultation called for harmony in moving forward with the Isle of Wight Council to find the best solution for the road.

Undercliff Drive resident Gemma Read organised the meeting to give the surrounding communities and those affected an opportunity to connect and share opinions and information.

Following the meeting Gemma said: "Yesterday was a positive move in pulling people together within the community. As the main facilitator of the event, I would like to state that yesterday was a drive for public opinion and information gathering, and to gather a general consensus on the preferred outcome of the damaged road.

"Quite naturally a petition was formed on the day to re-instate the iconic strategic route of the A3055, the majority of attendees signed this petition."

However, Peter Spain and Marilyn Reed, who live 300 yards from the boarded and padlocked landslip, said there seemed little point in throwing good money after bad by trying to "prop" up something which would inevitably come down one day.

Some residents believed roadworks undertaken by PFI contractor Island Roads were to blame for the landslip, an assertion strenuously denied by the company.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow’s Isle of Wight County Press, Friday, August 22.

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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