Letter: Undercliff Drive resident expresses scepticism over Leader’s ‘promise’

This resident on Undercliff Drive says after years of discussions, studies, surveys, the present solution has been arrived at. She’s sceptical of the council Leader’s promises to reopen the road – suggesting the upcoming election might have a bearing.

undercliff drive by lois jennings

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 Lois Jennings, Undercliff Drive. Ed


As you can see from the up-to-date photo of Undercliff Drive, we here at the site of the prolonged roadworks which started in September 2013, have some kind of closure on this at long last.

The roadworks began with piles being sunk along our section (to the east of the land-locked area) and the deep excavation – geo-technical work being undertaken at the same time, which was followed by the road collapsing in February 2014.

Election time?
As a point of interest, in St Lawrence, where the roadworks site is, our ward Councillor is Steve Stubbings and no one here is represented by Cllr Dave Stewart.

Could this outburst from him relate to elections coming up?

Some people can’t accept change!

Done, dusted and operating
After years of discussions, studies, surveys, experts being consulted, we have arrived at the present solution.

Done, dusted and operating.

What new facts can yet another feasibility study come up with that hasn’t been discussed at length before.

Enjoyed by many
Everyday we see people enjoying this new community asset.

The Drive was never designed or constructed to take heavy and excessive traffic, but it has increased steadily over the years. Speed limit, weight and width restrictions ignored as standard!

The solution now in operation may not please a few, but more and more locals and visitors are now appreciating the new arrangements.

People cycling, walking, jogging, walking their dogs, simply enjoying the chance to walk in the clear, clean air are using the Undercliff in ever increasing numbers.

An area of Natural Beauty
It is an SSSI area and an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. People are enjoying this without the fear of having to avoid traffic. We have access to lovely woodland the Coastal Path and Binnel Bay.

St Lawrence has just been awarded the Best Kept village award!

Predictions of imminent doom, made three years ago seem to have been exaggerated. Why not come and see for yourself?

Image: © Lois Jennings

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Monday, 20th February, 2017 8:15am

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2f1j

Filed under: Island-wide, Letter to the Editor, Niton, St Lawrence, Ventnor

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11 Comments

  1. Phil Jordan was the only councillor to knowledgeably answer residents questions. It’s such a shame he has gone. We are left with Steve Stubbins who has now abandoned ship and two town councillors who appear to be invisible.The excessive traffic you talk about is now coming through St Lawrence and up the Shute. So not perfect for Seven Sisters Road. Neither the Council or I R are interested in the dangers to walkers, cyclists or residents.
    Undercliff Drive is very picturesque now but it is supposed to be the main South coast road not a
    Country Park.
    We up here seem to have been landed with the problems you managed to get rid of.

    Reply
    • steve stubbings


      20.Feb.2017 10:23am

      It fell within Phil’s portfolio and he’s a very able councillor. That’s why he was able to knowledgeably answer residents’ questions. Try John Gilbey. It’s his portfolio now.

      Reply
      • Try John Gilbey? Ha ha ha ha ha ha!

        Reply
      • Alan Price


        20.Feb.2017 2:16pm

        How can he be ‘on board’ the ‘ship’ if he jumped off of it last month?

        Just because he has read and replied to a comment does not mean he has provided a helpful answer, the portfolio may not have been Steve’s but the ward most certainly is, the term sloppy shoulders comes to mind here…

        Reply
    • Luisa Hillard


      20.Feb.2017 1:33pm

      bones, I think you will find that Steve Stubbings is still ver much ‘on-board’ the ‘ship’ and has even read and replied to your comment here.

      Reply
    • “Undercliff Drive is very picturesque now but it is supposed to be the main South coast road”

      Things change. Having the main South Coast road on the IW running through a geologically unstable area wasn’t a goer from 1928 for those West of Niton and now it’s not a goer for those East of Niton.

      The inland road that’s bearing most of the traffic is a perfectly effective route to replace Undercliff Drive.

      If the issue is more traffic running up the smaller roads to that road then that’s something you will need to continue to apply pressure on your local representatives to sort out.

      Change sometimes takes a while, see.

      Reply
  2. Bravo! Lois – especially for pointing out how increasing numbers are now safely rediscovering, enjoying and celebrating the marvellous Isle of Wight Undercliff.

    Reply
  3. Robert Jones


    27.Feb.2017 11:48am

    Since through traffic stopped, I’ve been walking along Undercliff Drive (which I wouldn’t have dared to do when it was still open to traffic) gradually extending my range to improve my somewhat wobbly gait – and maybe help to lose some weight. It is a great walk; as others get to know about it, and cyclists use it, it could be a tourist attraction in its own right. Of course I understand the wish to open it to traffic again, and I realize businesses in Niton are suffering (although wonder to what extent that’s really due to the road being closed).

    If there is a solution to stabilizing the road which doesn’t involve significant loss of woodland, then I’ve no doubt it’ll be tried at some point; but I agree with Ms Jennings – this road may be lost for good, and it may be we just have to get used to that and make the best of what we HAVE got.

    Reply
    • I took a walk along the newly opened works at the weekend. It would appear that the residents are able to access their properties now from one end or the other. Given that a complete re-opening is not liable to happen for some years if at all, perhaps the remaining areas with the unsightly metal fencing could also be landscaped. I agree with other comments made to make the best of how it now is.

      From my own point of view it is now a peaceful walk or cycle along a lovely part of the Island and should be promoted as such. However, I have sympathy with those directly affected with the slippage, I wonder what other views are of those living there?

      Perhaps a re-think and re-signing of the shute to try and discourage traffic from using this route as a short cut may help alleviate the problem of increased traffic along the back roads. Maybe different signing at the Ventnor end too.

      Reply
      • As someone who didn’t buy several houses on Undercliff Drive because it was too busy, I am now enjoying the beautiful walk it has become. Well done Lois for pointing out the obvious. How about joining us on the 26th for Ride or Stride to the Buddle? Meet at St. Lawrence Post Office at 1.

        Reply
      • Colin it’s not for the lack of trying. We have continuously asked the Council / Island Roads for a 20mph limit on Seven Sisters Road.And just as continuously they have done nothing. We just get bounced between the two of them . I was actually told that nothing was likely to happen until there was a serious accident.

        Reply

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