Undercliff Drive. Picture by Peter Boam.
LANDSLIP fears in the Undercliff area have led residents of one property to leave their home, while the Isle of Wight Council has advised others to consider doing the same tonight (Friday).
The Isle of Wight Council has decided for safety reasons to close the remaining vehicle access for nine homes in 'Woodlands' following weeks of torrential rain.
Residents living in the area have been advised of the deteriorating condition of Undercliff Drive due to land movement.
Officers from the council visited all of the affected residents this afternoon to alert them to the changing situation. They gave them the opportunity to move their vehicles from the area to a nearby on-street location prior to the closure. This has now been completed.
The residents of one property chose to leave their home this afternoon.
They were advised to leave following an inspection by building control officers from the Isle of Wight Council.
Residents of the other properties have been advised to think about if they wish to remain in their homes, given the closure of the road and lack of vehicle access for them, together with continual ground movement in the area.
Pedestrian access remains available to residents only, subject to safety instructions. Other members of the public are being warned to say away from the area.
Bill Murphy, head of planning and regulatory services, said: "We have been closely monitoring the situation and liaising with residents since new cracks began to appear in the area earlier this week.
"Unfortunately the situation has developed rapidly and for reasons of safety we have taken the decision to close the road to vehicles.
"We have been liaising closely with residents over the past few days and are continuing to keep them updated of the situation and offer advice and support."
The council is also liaising with utility companies to assess the impact of further ground movement on water and electricity supplies to the properties.
Measures put in place to assist with the situation have included the following:
• A 24 hour emergency phone number for affected residents.
• Building control officer inspections for affected properties.
• Regular inspections of the site by Island Roads staff, council officers and the coastal management team.
• Assessments by the fire and rescue service should they – or other emergency services - need to access the area in an emergency.
• The fire service will assist with the moving of any vulnerable residents.
• Increased police patrols in the area and mobile and static CCTV.
• Emergency lighting erected in the area.
• Fencing erected to prevent public access to the affected area.
Cllr Steve Stubbings, deputy leader of the Isle of Wight Council and local member, said: "This is a desperate situation for the residents involved and my heart goes out to them.
"We appreciate that this is an extremely anxious time for the people living in the affected area and are doing all we can to keep them informed of the rapidly developing situation and provide advice.
"The council and its partner agencies are continuing to work together to ensure the safety of residents in the area."