Peter shares this report on behalf of Ryde Society from Saturday’s meeting. Ed
Ryde Society report Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely said he expected a Government announcement of plans for a £60 million upgrade to the dilapidated Island line railway and Ryde pier within the next few months.
(Ed: When OnTheWight contacted Bob Seely to get the detail on this, he responded, “This is not accurate”, claiming the figures and the timings were wrong. The figures and dates are what two people at the meeting tell us they heard – one from a recording and the other from shorthand notes. We’ve asked the MP what he thought he’d said.)
He told a packed meeting of the Ryde Society at the Esplanade Hotel on Saturday that it would be the “first proper investment in the line for fifty years.”
MP’s vision for train line to Newport
In a keynote speech highlighting his vision for the Island and his opposition to over development.
He also said he was trying to get Isle of Wight Council to agree to a railway line between Ryde and Newport.
National Park status
Mr Seely called for the Island to be made a National Park, as suggested by writer JB Priestley back in 1959.
Mr Seely said,
“The more we build on our landscape the less worth we become as a visitor attraction.”
Leading Ryde Society member Jonathan Dent praised Mr Seely’s vision for a National Park. Mr Dent said,
“The Isle should be protected from underhand developers.”
Commenting on the Island Line’s planned upgrade Mr Dent added,
“We must look forward to October when hopefully it will be a done deal.”
Seely: Pennyfeathers development “unsustainable”
Mr Seely said that the Island’s beautiful landscape makes it “the most painted part of the UK apart from West Cornwall”, and tourism accounts for between 20 and 50 per cent of the economy.
He slammed as “unsustainable” the proposed Pennyfeathers development for 900 homes on a green field site on the outskirts of Ryde.
“They don’t have infrastucture for so many houses.
“There is no public transport so people would have to depend on their cars.”
Seely: Isle of Wight councillors should “man-up”
He called on Isle of Wight councillors to “man-up” and be willing to challenge central government and the developers. “There has been such a hash of planning over the past 50 years.”
Mr Seely called for more housing for the young to keep them from leaving the Island.
“I know I’m a Conservative, but the answer is more council housing. But it must be in the towns where there is infrastructure.”
“Unrealistic” government housing targets
Slating the “unrealistic” government target for 9,000 new homes to be built, Mr Seely called for the council to apply for the Island to be granted ‘exceptional circumstance’ status, so it can lower the housing target to about 300 a year.
“We need one and two bedroom homes built in town centres on brownfield sites”, he said, rather than the three and four bedroom houses developers are keen to build on greenfield sites.
Icke: Independent investigation into IWC’s financial activities
Ryde resident David Icke, a writer and conspiracy theorist, called for an independent investigation into the Council’s financial activities going back five to ten years, an investigation into retrospective planning applications and a ban on the delegation of planning powers to one or two people.
However, Mr Seely – while he acknowledged there may have been “some fairly stupid housing decisions” – said he had seen no evidence of corruption.
Update 18:08 Added Bob Seely’s response
Update 20:01 Added extra detail after further correspondence