Letter: Business as usual in Ryde for developers, despite Covid-19

Cllr Lilley says the world has changed considerably due to Covid-19 and is calling for a halt to all large scale planning applications to allow time to reassess need

site plan by wyg

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This from Cllr Michael Lilley (Independent IW and Ryde Town Councillor for Ryde East ). Ed

On Saturday, 23rd May (May Bank holiday!), I received a “Dear Councillor Lilley” letter from the developers of a proposed new residential development at Puckpool Hill, Ryde, asking me for feedback in their intention to build 50 new houses on the border of my Ward in  Seaview. 

Covid-19 Reality! Lives and People First!
My heart sank, the energy drained from my body, the fatigue of weeks trying to cope with the realities of Covid-19 and focusing on supporting the residents of Ryde survive and get through the biggest crisis in their lives, including myself and my family.

I fail to understand when our Town, our Island, and our Country, is faced with incredible economic, social and personnel hardship, that developers in Ryde and across the Island, seem to be so blinkered and focused on still building houses we do not need, at prices we cannot afford, and without jobs to sustain any form of mortgage. The words “utter madness” just “fill” my head which is shaking from disbelief and anger. 

Continuous Large Scale Planning Applications in Ryde East! Despite Covid-19!
This new application just adds to my Need for Action in-box, that includes the 450 houses forthcoming West Acre Park application,  and Pennyfeathers’ Variation Orders (900 houses) to get an extension to the deadline for a full application post – 31st August cut of point (after five years waiting).

This distracts from the priority for me, which is simply supporting the Town and its residents getting through the trauma of Covid-19 and rebuilding their lives, our economy and most importantly their health. I continue to object to these applications along with local residents as we see that the houses being built do not fulfil in any way the needs of the community, and our housing need; especially now in a Covid-19 world.

These proposed houses are not at an affordable price for Islanders  even when named affordable, have no balance with available jobs, destroy green space even though Ryde has a deficit of green space and IW has UNESCO Biosphere status, and without proper infrastructure and roads.

Why Applications when Covid-19 is hitting our lives?
I may be cynical but it seems to be a developer’s old trick to put in applications and proposals at Bank Holidays, and when the local community is least likely to observe or comprehend the devastation awaiting them and by the time they do it is too late to get their views heard.

Residents are up against well-oiled professional teams with only one mission which is to get their planning permission through and make their profit.

Therefore, it makes sense that during the chaos and death threatening crisis of Covid-19 when residents are isolated, tired and probably at their lowest, it could be seen as a good time to slip in a large scale planning application. 

The need for a 12 month Moratorium to Reassess Need
This has to stop now, as this is not normal and not business as usual. I am calling and have been calling for some time for all large scale developments to be put on hold and we have a moratorium for at least 12 months whilst the community can start earnestly recovering from Covid-19 and rebuild their lives.

The World has changed radically in three months and we are totally in the unknown, we need to stop and rethink collectively the future about everything at local grass root level.

Any future housing has to be carefully thought out in regard social distancing, the environment, community facilities and support, adequate pedestrianisation and cycling, job creation, home working, homes for the homeless and disadvantaged, and so much more; And more importantly, residents and the community have to be involved and part of the decision with their own accessible professional advice and guidance to match the developers.

I hope the developers will stop and listen, take a moral and ethical perspective, and put people before business as usual and profit. 

Image: © WYG

Monday, 25th May, 2020 11:32am


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Filed under: Letter to the Editor, Planning, Ryde, Isle of Wight

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11 Comments on "Letter: Business as usual in Ryde for developers, despite Covid-19"

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I agree wholeheartedly with Cllr Lilley. Surely our Island Plan is no longer fit for purpose? There needs to be a new root and branch housing needs assessment with full public consultation in light of the impacts of Covid19. Time for action for island residents!

Phil Jordan
RTC, through the regeneration and Planning committees, have long negatively commented about the headlong rush in this part of Ryde to get big housing developments built. Indeed, this proposal uses the ‘Draft’Island Plan as a supporting document (!) even before it has been agreed (and as commented, needs revising anyway), mentions Harcourt Sands Planning application which is dead in the water and the land is currently for… Read more »
Eagle eye
Brilliant post. However, even when we were still in lockdown the government advocated that the construction industry should be restarted. When this type of greenlight is given by top ministers it is not surprising that applications are now coming in for homes to be built on the island. The island is and always has been the ATM for the same greedy developers who continue to destroy the… Read more »
Michael Lilley is absolutely right. Developers are trying to fly under the radar during this pandemic crisis to get planning permission for unsuitable housing development. Looking at the map in this article, we can see how built-up the Ryde area is already. The urban sprawl is creeping ever closer to villages. And yet this area is being targeted by more and more developers to build housing estates… Read more »
Guy Eades
Both Councillors Andre and Lilley are absolutely right – there needs to be a moratorium whilst the Island Development Plan is rethought. Bob Seely MP was arguing for this at the last election but all seems to have gone quiet on this front. “Regeneration” has to mean something different than building houses which is the current IoW / Planning policy. The IoW Biosphere criteria is a definite… Read more »

Don’t forget the 140 houses on Rosemary Vineyard on top of the 900 at Pennyfeathers and 450 West Acre Park.

It is not only housing developers who are using the current Covid-19 state of emergency to bury bad news. Just ahead of the lockdown, UK Oil and Gas’s notice of planning application submission appeared in the back pages of the County Press. The IW Council has made assurances that a public consultation will not take place until officers have received special training, as they have no previous… Read more »

Well argued reasons for a moratorium and reevaluation of Island developments.


There has to be a plan in place to be able to provide GP services, education and another hospital on the island before hundreds of new houses are built.


Don’t forget the Crossways planning application still looming over an over-populated and under-resourced East Cowes.


Ther current 40 Dead from the first wave of C19 will not cause a housing glut,
The second wave may be a different story