Undercliff could be rebuilt at £20m cost

By Martin Neville

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Undercliff could be rebuilt at £20m cost

A stretch of Undercliff Drive, which could cost £20m to rebuild according to a report to the Isle of Wight Council. Picture by Peter Boam.

A MULTI-million pound rebuilding scheme is among the potential solutions in detailed reports on crumbling Undercliff Drive, published today (Thursday).

Three reports, drawn up by PFI contractor Island Roads for the Isle of Wight Council, outline possible solutions for the road between Ventnor and Niton, where homes had to be abandoned after major landslips.

They range from permanently closing the road to rebuilding it on a pile-supported road deck at an estimated cost of up to £20 million.

Other possibilities include making it pedestrian access only, re-opening a single lane or establishing a new inland access route to the affected homes.

The council will now consider the reports before recommendations about the future of the site are put before its executive.

Cllr Steve Stubbings, deputy leader and member for Ventnor West, said: "It remains a very anxious time for residents directly affected by the ground movement along the Undercliff and we would like to assure all those affected that we are doing all we can to reach a point where we can make a decision on the road’s future as quickly as possible."

Although the reports outline potential solutions to the failure, they indicate that it will not be possible to carry out a detailed assessment until it can be confirmed ground movement in the area has ceased.

Cllr Phil Jordan, executive member for public protection, said: "It is likely the reports will generate questions for residents but it is important we take the time to consider all of the technical information in detail before commenting on any of the proposals.

"The reports raise some complex and detailed issues and we are correctly seeking clarification on those issues without further delay."

The council’s building control officers are inspecting properties weekly to check for new movement and Island Roads continues to undertake detailed monitoring of ground movement and ground water levels.

Current data shows that the ground is continuing to move although it has slowed significantly from the rates experienced earlier in the year.

Despite continuing ground movement, the report said some residents were still using their homes and others were keen to return.

As a result the council is considering establishing a safe, but temporary road access.

Click here to view the report.

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk


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Displaying the last 10 of 34 comments - Show All Comments

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by alan naylor

2nd June 2014, at 02:25:25

lots of people have lost their property at Luccome and allalong the south coast no comp for them whats changed now?????

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by Graham Ruthven

1st June 2014, at 19:45:20

Depending on how many homes are/wil be effected I think it may turn out 20mil may be cheaper then compulsorily purcheses

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by David Blackford

31st May 2014, at 15:22:04

Look at this

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by Mike Crowe

31st May 2014, at 13:07:30

I think we are all agreed,....... leave it to nature.

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by David Blackford

31st May 2014, at 11:24:50

Sound advice Nick - But how much would a geological survey cost? - I suggest the past history of that area speaks for itself. - Underlying blue slipper clay + Rain = Landslip

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by Nick Peters

31st May 2014, at 11:10:19

Spend £20 million. You may get 200 years security. Or it may only be 20, or 2. If you are going to spend that sort of money, the geotechnical engineers and engineering geologists need to make damn sure they get the landslip model right. I investigate and assess risk landslips affecting property in New Zealand. If you dont know 100% whats going on under your feet, then your remediation measures are going to be at significant risk of being compromised. So choose the engineers wisely, and enjoy your council tax increases over the next few years........

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by Mike Crowe

31st May 2014, at 09:33:51

I wonder if those in the middle of the problem would like to say what was on their minds when they moved into / built / purchased their property, considering the fact that the land has been on the move since before any of them were born?

I know of one person who was interested in a property which came on the market recently which was very close to the fault line. "Oh well it will be a nice place to live in once we have got it to our liking for ...... who knows, one year or see our lives out" .............. A 'throw away home'.

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by Patrick Hall

31st May 2014, at 09:13:58

I'm with Sarah on this. Regardless of where the money comes from, be it be I.W. Council, central government or the EU, taxpayers will ultimately foot the bill. If it happens again, what then? Throw more money at it? If money has to be spent, it should go firstly towards helping the people who can no longer live in their properties, and then to construct an alternative route between Ventnor and Niton on firm ground, if possible bypassing Whitwell and Niton. Then let nature take its course - the Undercliff area with all its wonderful flora and fauna will still be there, road or no road.

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by David Blackford

31st May 2014, at 08:09:52

If you buy a house in a landslip area .............................

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by Sarah Smith

31st May 2014, at 07:29:49

Even if there is something which can be done to stave off the inevitable, that doesn't mean that the council should spend my money and yours on hugely expensive scheme which will benefit only a very few people. I feel sorry for those whose homes are affected, but it isn't the responsibility of the rest of the population that they chose to live on a known landslip area. Use some of the £20m to compulsorily purchase the homes, let the road go, and let people find somewhere else to live.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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