Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight residents make repairs to landslip-hit road

Undercliff Drive Image copyright Simon Perry/On the Wight
Image caption A letter sent by Island Roads said people could be prosecuted for trespassing if they used vehicles on the new road

Residents whose homes have been cut off for eight months have built a new road without the council's knowledge.

A landslide in February caused substantial damage on Undercliff Drive in Ventnor, Isle of Wight.

The OnTheWight website reported that a new road appeared over the weekend and was being used by residents.

The Isle of Wight Council and contractor Island Roads said the road was "unauthorised and unapproved" and access was being blocked.

A letter to residents from Island Roads, which maintains the island's highways under a Public Finance Initiative (PFI) scheme, said Hampshire Constabulary had been notified about potential trespassers on the site.

Gary Smedmore, whose caravan park business has been affected by the lack of access, told OnTheWight: "We're not prepared to just sit back, the council have been so lax."

Image caption The land at Undercliff Drive on the south side of the island crumbled away in February

He said 150 tonnes of material had been used in building the new road and dismissed accusations of it being unsafe.

Homeowner Barbara Wright who has been in rented accommodation since February, said the new road was built with the "best of intentions" and reflected the residents' frustrations with a local of action from the council.

The landslide happened during reconstruction of the road.

'Safety not verified'

A four-mile detour was put in place. Eight families are still living in rented accommodation after being evacuated from their homes.

Last month Isle of Wight Council agreed to spend £500,000 researching a solution to the repairing the road, which is on a still-active landslip.

Mrs Wright, who was not involved with building the makeshift road, said: "They're not giving us any information - we have no confidence in them, we don't think they can afford the work needed."

Image copyright Gary Smedmore
Image caption Barriers have been put in place to prevent access to the new road

A joint statement from the council and the road operator about the makeshift road said: "Its safety cannot be verified.

"We cannot allow vehicular access to the site. Therefore we will, as a matter of urgency, take the necessary steps to once again prevent vehicular access whilst we conduct a full safety assessment.

"It remains the intention to undertake a scheme to provide long-term access to these properties."

Further discussions are taking place between councillors, council officials and contractors to decide how to deal with the makeshift road.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites