Letter: Ryde School Boarding House proposal ‘should not go ahead’

The Ryde Town Council, the North East Heritage Group and over fifty residents have objected to a proposal that the IWC planning officer has recommended conditional permission for.

ryde conservation area from sea plus building at 3 coniston drive height

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from the Ryde Against Boarding House group (RABH). Ed


The Ryde Against Boarding House (RABH) group were very disappointed to learn that IWC planning officer has recommended ‘conditional permission’ for the Ryde School Boarding House proposal.

They feel that the introduction of a 70 bedroom ‘hotel’ in the middle of one of Ryde’s Conservation Areas is a highly retrograde step.

All Conservation Areas are protected by law (Town and Country Planning Act 1990) and any development must enhance their character.

Where is the ‘positive effect’?
It is very hard to see how the introduction of this building which is of an “institutional, functional and modern appearance” and houses 70 inhabitants, can have a “positive effect” on the this area with its many Grade II listed properties.

Indeed the Ryde Conservation Area Character Appraisal adopted 2011 states this is a ‘quiet and pleasant’ area. The building will also be highly visible as you approach Ryde by sea and also from many locations on the public highways around Ryde School.

Biggest development for 100+ years
This does not tally with the IWCC report that states the “school site is obscured by the existing tree cover” and “the impact of this building visually from the public realm would be negligible”.

This would arguably be the biggest development in this part of Ryde for 100+ years and would undoubtedly dominate and diminish the Conservation Area.

It should not go ahead.

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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29 Comments on "Letter: Ryde School Boarding House proposal ‘should not go ahead’"

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darknessvisible

Only two years ago a new boarding house was developed in Lind Street by Ryde School which is now empty of boarders, having failed. Perhaps they should utilise this first before alienating the residents of Spencer Road with yet another expensive folly…

lastmanstanding
Failed? Because they used it for staff accomodation for a while so they were closer to the school (they’ve lived at the boarding campus in Bembridge in the past). Don’t worry though, there will be students back there soon enough. As for the article, clearly you haven’t looked at a number of the properties in the area that are far from “in keeping” with your ideas. By… Read more »
Sally Perry

Just to be absolutely clear, this is not a news report by OnTheWight, but a letter from a group of Ryde residents.

peterj
I’m glad you refer to Ryde School as a business, because it clearly is. Yet somehow it is a registered charity, with all the perks and benefits that brings – although you’ll struggle to find it mentioned on their web site. In return for this charity status, I believe they are meant to do things of benefit to the community. I also struggle to see what that… Read more »
lastmanstanding
Before making further comment, you might consider checking your facts. Yes, the school is both a business and a charity. Their charitable status is clearly stated on all correspondence and they frequently do things for the community… they have to as a requirement of the charitable status. As for the money they bring in, this comes from a number of avenues: staff employed by the school often… Read more »
peterj
The thing is, I’m looking for facts. It is a charity as I stated – and yes, I did have to hunt for details of it on their web site. Of course it is on official correspondence – they will know how to follow such requirements. But I really don’t believe it is widely known or advertised. Which brings me to the real question: why is it… Read more »
profoundlife
Peters, I believe they are a charity just as basically every school in the country is, state or independent. I’d be amazed if people don’t know that after the recent general election. What being a charity means is that after paying salaries (I have a relative who works there and I know they’re not really so different from state schools), if there’s money left over, no one… Read more »
profoundlife

Sorry, meant to say Peterj, but autocorrect had other ideas

profoundlife

And, I’m told, the also host events for other schools such as Sing Up Day, some staff work as governors in other local schools, they have provided support to other schools if they are lacking staff in some areas (such as maths).

darknessvisible

I think the point is that the boarding numbers have dropped which would have forced the school to use the Lind Street accommodation for staff. My issue is that this accommodation should be sustainable for boarders over a period of time before a further development is considered. Otherwise, the school may end up with two unsustainable buildings instead of one.

lastmanstanding

Except there were boarders put in the Bembridge campus, where the staff had previously been… it was a simple swap.

As for whether the new boarding house is sustainable… I guess we will find out soon enough, but clearly they are confident that it will be or they wouldn’t be spending millions of pounds on a new building.

darknessvisible

I am sorry that you assume this will be the case. The senior school and boarding numbers have dropped over the last four years and the surplus has more than halved. Building a new boarding house in addition to Lind Street will not solve this trend – a far more fundamental review is needed in order to guarantee the survival of this important island school.

lastmanstanding

Assuming you have access to the numbers and this is the case, I agree with you that they need to review their plans.

That said, maybe the new building is to consolidate their boarders…

harry0
To be clear, Ryde School are trying to build a huge hotel like building on their playing field which is in a conservation area. The building will house up to 70 odd persons and cause a lot of noise to residents of the surrounding properties. It is all very well for people who do not live in the vicinity to say that “it is good for Island… Read more »
Suruk the Slightly Miffed

**”The building will house up to 70 odd persons and cause a lot of noise to residents of the surrounding properties.”**

A bit of a sweeping generalisation, don’t you think? I know they are the offspring of the well-to-do, but I’m sure most of them are pretty normal. 😂

harry0

Yes, that is my point. They are ‘normal’. What was it like at your school when 70 odd pupils were let loose in the playground or perhaps at Uni. when it was time to ‘relax’?

Suruk the Slightly Miffed

Sorry, Harry, it was a joke. A play on words. Your odd meaning “approximately” Vs odd meaning “strange”.

lastmanstanding
Except it’s not a playground, nor is it a university building. It is a space they go to work and sleep and is under constant supervision. As for “a few tins of coke”, clearly you haven’t seen their spending… I have a full time job and doubt I could spend the money they do in town. Even if it were just a few cans of coke, the… Read more »
harry0
“Will it change the look of Ryde from the Solent?” Look at the picture at the top of the page. It is to scale and this is how it will look. I always look at the town from the sea. It is most impressive with the Church and spire at the top of the town and the attractive houses along Spencer Road, St.Thomas Street and the Esplanade.… Read more »
lastmanstanding

The picture where the building is highlighted so that you can clearly see it? Tone down the colours to the same as the other buildings in the picture and it is a very different look.

I’d also need to check, next time I’m on the Solent, but won’t some of those trees be in front on the building?

harry0

Yes, of course. Must think twice before using the word again. What would you think of Ryde School building this on a playing field in a Conservation area, especially if you lived in a flat only 50 metres away?

Fred Karno

I sincerely hope that the local county councillor for the Ryde North West Ward; Cllr Adrian Axford, (Tory), has “called in” this planning application, so that it can be considered properly by the Isle of Wight Planning Committee (councillors), and NOT just nodded through by employees of the Council, ie the planning officers.

darknessvisible

He may well have done as it is to be discussed at committee this Tuesday.

Geoff Brodie

Though this ability to ‘call in’ applications is now under threat in the future. See Paper C to the same Planning Committee. All power to the planning officers.

Fred Karno
Thanks for the info Geoff – nice to know another democratic process is being removed. This particular application is a huge concern to many people. I’m only a matter of yards away, albeit not in Spencer Road. This application is making a whole mockery of the principle of Conservation Areas and I don’t believe officers can be trusted to act impartially as their judgement may well be… Read more »
darknessvisible
The “numbers” are a matter of public record, as is the case with all charities. There are currently two boarding opportunities for pupils at the school which are not being properly utilised. To alienate local residents by borrowing money to create a third will be of little help to anyone and smacks of short term opportunism for those who have control of the school at the moment.… Read more »
islandrock

As far as I was aware, the staff at the Bembridge Boarding site were those looking after the boarders there, so if it had rooms available for other staff does this not suggest that the numbers are low there too?
Sad that what is clearly an unpopular proposal gets conditional permission; the numbers are not there to fill it.

lastmanstanding

No, they have a number of visiting/temporary staff (student teachers, for example) that would normally be given accommodation at Bembridge but students were allocated their rooms and they were put in Lind Street instead.

harry0
Refused! So the those with the money do not always win. If only the governors of the school knew how much harm this planning application has done to the goodwill that their neighbours had always shown towards the school in the past, they might apologise and beg for forgiveness. No more putting up with pupils parking outside their homes and noisy kids on the tennis court trying… Read more »
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