Undercliff inquiry

By David Newble

Sunday, August 10, 2014

 

ALLEGATIONS storms were not the only cause of the devastating landslip at Undercliff Drive are to be investigated by Island Roads’ parent company, Eurovia.

Eurovia confirmed this week it was aware of a letter containing the allegations from resident Gary Smedmore, which also contains allegations about the conduct of Island Roads staff. A copy of the letter has been seen by the County Press.

The chairman of the Isle of Wight Council’s scrutiny committee, Cllr Geoff Lumley, said he had also read the letter but ruled out an inquiry by the committee. 

As previously reported, some residents along stricken Undercliff Drive believe roadworks undertaken by the PFI contractor were to blame for the huge landslip, an assertion strenuously denied by Island Roads.

A spokesperson for Eurovia said senior management at Island Roads would be investigating the allegations and had contacted Mr Smedmore.

She said: "Our sympathies are obviously with the homeowners and businesses in Undercliff Drive at this difficult time but I am sure they and other Islanders can appreciate, this is not a straightforward issue.

"Land slippage has been an issue on that part of the Island for many years now. However, we would like to reassure everyone Island Roads is working extremely hard with the council to explore possible options for the longer-term future of the road."

Cllr Lumley said allegations about the conduct of Island Roads staff and their sub contractors was a matter for their management to address.

He said: "The contracts manager would monitor how properly the company’s policies were applied on this complaint.

"However, the council would not have any role in the investigation or any sanction, not least because it would want to reserve the right to comment if it felt they had not taken the allegations sufficiently seriously."

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