At September’s Ventnor Town Council meeting it was agreed to launch a consultation with residents and traders in relation to possibly radical changes to the pavements and parking on the High Street between the Pet Shop and Premier Stores.
It was revealed at the meeting that the in-depth disability risk assessment carried out by Isle Access has highlighted “some very stark shortcomings”.
The outcome of the Disability Risk Assessment is that the Town Council has a duty to do everything possible to respond to the issues identified.
Free parking moved and pavement widened
The biggest change could see the widening of the north pavement on the High Street enough to allow two buggies, prams or motorised scooters without either having to go into the road and the current short stay parking moving from the High Street to the Central Car Park.
This was first reported by OnTheWight at the beginning of August, when the VTC confirmed they would not be making any decision prior to ta consultation.
Combine with resurfacing
Deputy Mayor Cllr Stephen Cockett explained that Island Roads are looking to carry out a resurfacing of the High Street, likely to take place next Spring or Autumn, that would be a good opportunity to make adjustments to the town centre.
Concerns over unloading and parking
Cllr Brian Lucas expressed his concern about loading facilities for traders on the High Street and capacity of the central car park to take additional cars. He’d been taking a straw poll of parking over the summer and found the central car park to be full very often.
He hoped the consultation would bring out a lot of useful points and that no plans would be developed until the residents and traders’ views were heard.
One-to-one and public meetings
Cllr Jamie Macaulay suggested having one-to-one meetings with traders and an open day at the Winter Gardens for residents, where councillors and officers can explain their draft plans to answer questions.
Opportunity to modernise
Cllr Leigh Geddes explained the time constraints on working with Island Roads’ resurfacing plans. They are not likely to come back for 20 year or more, she said, adding they needed to consult, come up with something decent before the tarmac started going down.
“If we don’t, we won’t get the modernisation and accessibility provisions which is what this is about.
“The things that we’ve put up with for some many years and can be eased and smoothed over.”
High Street presence for consultation
Cllr Colm Watling cited the Newport Harbour consultation that has seen an empty shop on Newport High Street being used to show plans, provide an ability for residents to feedback and find out more.
He suggested doing the same on the High Street in Ventnor, which was met with many nods around the table.
The next steps
It was proposed by Cllr Lucas, seconded by Cllr Geddes and unanimously voted to:
- Ask its Town Clerk and Community Development Officer to develop arrangements for consultation with traders and residents;
- Fund the detailed drawings from Island Roads required for the costings, consultation with traders and residents and a consequent planning application in an anticipated total of up to £5,000.
To watch the live stream recording of the meeting, visit the VTC’s YouTube channel
The full report on the town centre improvements and the risk assessment report can be found below. Click on the full screen icon to see larger version.