Readers may remember back in March, Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner wrote to Scott Wardrop, Managing Director of the Eurovia Group insisting that he must answer questions in public about the asphalt plant his company hope to build on the River Medina in Cowes.
Over two months later, Mr Wardrop has responded to the Island’s MP (see letter embedded below), blaming the delay of his response on the ‘purdah period’ (what’s purdah?) for the recent local elections (held on 2 May).
Mr Wardrop wrote,
“We are confident that the site we have selected is entirely suitable and most appropriate for this asphalt plant, as it is a brownfield site prescribed by Isle of Wight Council for future industrial use.
Own plant preferred
Many residents have argued that Eurovia should scrap their plans to build an asphalt plant on the Island and instead purchase asphalt from Bardon Vectis, who have a plant based at Blackwater.
At the moment, the company are having to ship in asphalt from the mainland, something they admit resulted in poor standard of road repair for their first major Island project.
However, in his letter to the MP, Mr Wardop said,
“We have reached the view, as we did throughout the bidding stage, that it is our preferred solution to build an Island-based asphalt plant under our direct operational control.
“We can confirm that the cost implications in relation to the temporary asphalt supply are being met by our Group, and not by taxpayers.
In his letter detailed response, Mr Wardop added that Eurovia were keen to involve residents and businesses,
“As we have previously indicated, it is our intention to establish an Advisory Group, made up of residents and businesses, to ensure that issues of emissions, noise, dust and transport are carefully monitored. We are more than prepared to be held accountable for our commitments in this respect.
We also hope that our plant will contribute to the long-term regeneration of the Medina Valley, and Medina Wharf in particular, in line with the vision set out in the Island Plan Core Strategy. We recognise that our proposed use of Medina Wharf will help secure its future viability, which undoubtedly is to be welcomed.”
Plant not explicit in PFI contract
On the issue of whether the PFI contract is dependent on planning permission for Eurovia’s asphalt plant, Mr Wardop says,
“When the Council states that there is no requirement for a new local asphalt plant to supply the PFI contract, they are correct. There is no explicit requirement within the PFI contract to provide such a plant here on the Island, as it is clearly for us to determine how best to meet our contractual obligation to provide high performance asphalt.
“However we have reached the view, as we did throughout the bidding stage, that it is our preferred solution to build an Island-based asphalt plant under our direct operational control.
“Therefore I do not agree with your assertion that the positions articulated by Eurovia and the Isle of Wight Council are contradictory. Quite the contrary, our positions complement each other by setting out the respective positions of both parties and the appropriate separation of responsibilities, particularly given our interface with the Isle of Wight Council as a Planning Authority.”
“The discovery of asbestos is helpful”
Mr Wardrop has also addressed concerns over asbestos, by highlighting
“Many former such brownfield sites which are found on examination to contain asbestos have subsequently been managed effectively and gone on to be perfectly safe for future industrial or residential use. In many respects the discovery of asbestos is helpful as it means that we can now address this concern fully, and reassure all concerned.”
Long-term regeneration of the Medina Valley
Mr Wardrop ended his letter to Mr Turner by stating Eurovia’s aspiration that the plant would
“contribute to the long-term regeneration of the Medina Valley, and Medina Wharf in particular, in line with the vision set out in the Island Plan Core Strategy. We recognise that our proposed use of Medina Wharf will help secure its future viability, which undoubtedly is to be welcomed. Furthermore, our proposed use of this brownfield site, which is in an employment regeneration area zoned for industrial use, gives this former landfill location a worthwhile future. Given your own past comments urging the use of brownfield sites, I hope you will recognise that our ambitions in this respect closely accord with your view.”
To see larger versions of the letters below, click on the full screen icon to open in a new window.
_Summary of Scott Wardrop Response to Andrew Turner MP June