Angry residents confront Isle of Wight council leader over St Mary’s roundabout

Isle of Wight council leader, Dave Stewart, told one resident she was not obliged to stay and listen to the answers at last night’s public meeting

angry bird hay bale

Angry residents confronted the Isle of Wight Council leader at a public meeting last night (Thursday) to discuss the St Mary’s Roundabout works.

Around 40 people attended the meeting, hosted by the council at Medina Theatre, which included a presentation on the project followed by a question and answer session.

Stewart: Add 15 minutes to your journey
Council leader Cllr Dave Stewart had previously advised people to ‘add 15 minutes’ to their journey time.

In response to people complaining about delays last night, he described the roadworks as ‘managed disruption.’

Cannot build without disruption
Kevin Burton, Island Roads’ network manager, said the roadworks would cause minimum disruption. He said:

“We cannot possibly build and design a scheme like this without causing disruption.”

Angry residents directed questions at the panel, which included transport cabinet member Cllr Ian Ward, about a lack of pedestrian routes, school fines for lateness — and a potential criminal record — for parents stuck in traffic and a lack of public consultation.

One resident said she was ‘insulted’ the council had not communicated with more people prior to the work starting.

Stewart: Residents “not obliged to stay and listen to the answers”
In an exchange between the pair, Cllr Stewart said he could not change the past.

He said he had attended the meeting to respond to questions, but told the woman she was not obliged to stay and listen to the answers.

Rowland: Part of wider scheme
Colin Rowland, the council’s director of neighbourhoods, reiterated the £6.5 million project was part of a wider £9.6 million scheme to improve the traffic flow through Newport.

He said:

“As every Islander knows, all roads lead to Newport. There is no silver bullet for Coppins Bridge. There isn’t really a design to fix it unless you spend millions of pounds.

“This work will be to get people away from Coppins Bridge and improve the overall experience of getting to Newport.”

Price: Coppins Bridge the ‘elephant in the room’
Cllr Matthew Price, ward councillor for Newport North and a vocal critic of the scheme, said the ‘elephant in the room’ had been overlooked once again — arguing most of the town’s traffic problems could be fixed if Coppins Bridge was remodelled.

He said:

“From the start, I have been against this scheme. There is no cure for it unless you switch the lights off at Coppins Bridge but keep the pedestrian crossings on. People know how to drive, it would work.”

Stewart: “I don’t think we have got it wrong”
Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Stewart responded to complaints the council had failed to communicate with Islanders about the project.

He said:

“The communication plan that was set out to deal with all of this, be it social media, a letter, or the website, was more than has been done on a lot of things.

“I don’t think we have got it wrong, I have nothing to hide. We made a decision to do something, not everyone is going to agree.

“We are engaging with our community and getting some feedback because, at the end of the day, we work for the community.”

The St Mary’s scheme, to rip up the roundabout and replace it with traffic light-controlled junctions, started at the end of September. The project is expected to take 15 months to complete.


This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: Nomadic Lass under CC BY 2.0

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13 Comments on "Angry residents confront Isle of Wight council leader over St Mary’s roundabout"

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Colin
I went to this meeting which was poorly attended by the public and a few local councillors. I had hoped for a factual informative presentation, but got a defensive overview with very little detail on how the new system was going to work. There was plenty about diversions during the work but there was little time for questions at the end and most of mine went unasked.… Read more »
chartman

Even just a circle painted on the ground at Arreton Hare would work… I’ll pay for the paint…

eddo
Not so as the traffic is tidal emerging from the downs would be nigh impossible at busy period, simply solution would be for traffic from the south to not be able to turn right but to travel to the roundabout to gain access to the downs road, light phasing would need to change as to give longer period for the North and South route with a short… Read more »
Colin

Not that Junction eddo! I was talking about the junction with the wooden hare at the bottom of the hill on the Sandown road.
That is certainly an interesting idea for the traffic light junction by the Hare and Hounds though. If only the IWC wanted to listen.

Geoff Brodie
I sat and observed nearly all the meeting . It was frankly disgraceful. Cllr Stewart patronised and insulted the residents who had turned up on a foul evening. They were not allowed to ask questions during the presentation and when they were allowed, they couldn’t answer anything, claiming they would get back to people. Not sure how since they weren’t taking their details or even making a… Read more »
brian45

All roads wouldn’t lead to Newport if there was a bridge over the Medina from Whippingham to Stag Lane as planned years ago which Mr Stewart said he supported earlier this year the cost of which would be virtually covered if we hadn’t wasted money on St Mary’s roundabout and the floating bridge.

kirkauld

Would Cllr Stewart and other members be so confident despite all the opposing thoughts/suggestions/ideas if they were held accountable if/when this scheme proved to be a failure? Where then the exponents of this scheme?!!!!

Angela Hewitt

PS Excellent reporting Colin

YJC

chartman

Years ago I contacted Island Roads suggesting a mini roundabout at the Arreton Hare and Magpies. It is obvious it would help traffic flows especially when Staplers Road was closed etc.
I received a considered answer saying that they thought – as a safety issue the idea was a good one and would pass it on.
Nothing happened.

YJC

I wish there had been more people at the meeting. It would have shown what the residents felt. It is always worth seeing how our councillors handle questions.

truth

So the council need to save £4.5m in the forthcoming year , as well as produce a document which shows how they will tackle net zero carbon emissions by 2030… why not switch off the lights at Coppins and watch the emissions fall, and save unnecessary expense?

Angela Hewitt
If I asked for a freedom of information request for the minutes of the meeting when this idea was first mooted would it tell me how the councilors including Geoff Brodie(formerly Lumley) objected and indeed heavily questioned the viability of the project and did they conduct further interrogation at follow-up meetings as more and more information came to light – or in fact didn’t come to light… Read more »
Geoff Brodie

They would indeed, but as they were private briefings for councillors only there are no minutes. This was the first open meeting for the public to try to get sensible answers. N.B. Not sure what my former surname has to do with it.