Letter: Upper Ventnor road cracks – When should we worry?

A Ventnor resident is starting to get worried by the increase in cracks appearing on the upper Ventnor roads and footpaths.

crack in wall

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with readers. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch. This from Ventnor resident, David Henshall. Ed

At what point should residents of upper Ventnor start to worry?

The cracks in the road at the junction of Ocean View and Newport Road are getting visibly bigger, as are those in the footpath that cuts the corner off.

There were surveyors out taking measurements on Wednesday, but it is no surprise that there is a total lack of information filtering down to residents.

The forecasts are predicting 36 hours of excessive rainfall onto an area where something appears to be ‘happening’ – maybe it is time for the Isle of Wight council to stop playing politics and reassure residents that all is well up here!

Click on images for larger versions

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Word from IW council
The IWC advised on 8th March that urgent works to shore up the retaining wall at the junction of Ocean View Road and Newport Road would the week starting March.2013. It doesn’t look like this has happened as yet.

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Friday, 22nd March, 2013 4:08pm


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Filed under: Letter to the Editor, Ventnor

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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.


  1. During the last major roadworks, they were unable to fill the large hole, and instead built a bridge. The bridge is where the cones are in the photo.

  2. buy land north of the slip this will become the new esplanade and be worth millions

  3. We reckon that in 15 years we will have wonderful sea views here….. obviously no buildings insurance or access to our home or even access to Town or the Beach… but no worries eh? The Council will sort it out,, just like undercliffe, except this time it is a whole town at risk not just a few houses… Strange how the urgency to sort this out is so much less than before!
    And before the Nay sayers start up… the cracks ARE growing and nothing is stopping them so perhaps just a little enthusiasm from our elected officials and even a bit of action might soothe our worried brows!!! But I doubt it!

  4. Chris Welsford

    23.Mar.2013 11:37am

    I am extremely concerned that the current wet weather could trigger of some serious landslides. I understand from a senior geotechnical expert that the situation is as serious now as it was in the early sixties when the Blackgang road was destroyed.

    Because of this information; the letter to OnTheWight; a number of calls from worried residents, regarding the risk of landslide in Ventnor and in light of the tragic events in Cornwall, I have raised these concerns last night with senior officers at the Isle of Wight Council.

    They have confirmed that because of the underlying geology, there is a theoretical risk of a major landslide in the town and this features as a risk on the service plan annually as a matter of course. They have also confirmed that ground water levels are much higher than normal and ideally they would like to see those reduce by a metre or so before being able to give greater reassurance. They say that they are comfortable that there is no need to issue a specific warning about the risk of a landslide at the moment. However, people are urged be cautious walking at or near cliff edges.

    I have been assured that the situation is under control and being monitored. They have told me that there are a number of monitoring stations around the town to make sure that we know the position with ground movement and are able to give early warning.

    I would urge residents not to be unduly concerned but they should remain vigilant and report any significant ground movement that they observe.

    Ventnor is part of the largest landslip area in Western Europe. This is why we have the Coastal Protection Team here in the town and why I am the Isle of Wight Council’s representative on SCOPAC, the Standing Conference on Problems Associated with the Coast, which joins up the various Coastal Protection teams and elected representative in the South. Because of what I have learned over the last 4 years from my involvement with SCOPAC and the Coastal Protection team, I am actively opposing proposals being made by the Conservative Ruling Group to make the Coastal Protection Manager redundant and disperse his team into other departments. That in my view is a serious risk that we should all be very worried about. The proposals are to be finalised on the 1st April without any public discussion.

    Chris Welsford
    Independent County Councillor for Ventnor East

    • Chris,

      Thank you very much for your comments, is there anything we can do as residents except ‘vote independant’ in May? Unlike our current crop of elected officials,as a dog walker I cover the main effected area, on foot – often twice a day. The early comments on here say it all, the fault lines are not only visible but are growing daily. The shift in the ground recently ‘pulled apart’ a joint on the HV power cable, whilst in Ocean View the road is dug by again as gas has been smelt. You don’t need to be a geologist – just walk up the pavement of Ocean View, from the junction with Zig Zag to the start of Newport Rd and the growing ‘bulges’ in the walls will certainly quicken your step!
      The nay sayers seem to believe that Ventnor is somehow immune and that it won’t happen here. Yet the recent experience in Whitby shows just wrong this attitude can be. Here the residents found that the situation with their homes was so parlous that they were not allowed in to the remains of their homes to collect any personal effects – they lost ‘everything’.


      You’d have thought as well that some of our elected officials would have taken more note of events down in Italy, when a number of supposedly responsible people chose to ignore a number of warnings which meant that when the predicted earthquake happened, the town was ill prepared – prosecutions are now being taken out against those who took the risk of ignoring the signs they were there to notice. Now no one is suggesting that we will get an earthquake here at Ventnor or on the Island but if we do get that serious landslip, the shockwaves could well reverberate all the way to County Hall!
      David Henshall/Zig Zag Rd

  5. Surely it’s time to re-route the buses and ban large vehicles from using the route. Also, shouldn’t the Tourist Board be warning holiday makers to come into Ventnor along Leeson Road instead of through Wroxall. It’s ominously like what happened to the Undercliff Road near Niton and along the Military Road near Freshwater but much more serious because of the larger population. Are the Isle of Wight Council waiting for a few deaths or something before they do anything? If the coastal protection manager’s post is abolished and his team dispersed does that make the whole council legally responsible for any deaths and injuries if anything happens?

  6. L R Traite

    25.Mar.2013 5:41pm

    The road was closed this morning without notice until Thursday. It does now feature on the website. Not sure what they are planning to do if the problem is as serious as they say

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