OnTheWight always welcomes 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 Peter Geach of East Cowes. Ed
With the Isle of Wight council elections coming up in May, it would be interesting to hear what the prospective East Cowes councillors intend to do about regaining at least foot and wheelchair access at the Landslip on East Cowes Esplanade to the beaches up to Castle Point.
Some years ago, in 2014, a significant landslip occurred along the Esplanade blocking off access to the beaches up to Castle Point.
Denial that burst water pipe caused it
The slip coincided with a major release of water at the Southern Water Pumping Station directly above the slip on Spring Hill. A major pipe burst released a significant volume of water. Southern Water denied this major leak had anything to do with the landslip. Our council accepted this and went along with the coincidence theory.
Over time, various reasons why the landslip couldn’t be cleared were put forward; cost to reinstate the road was one, but another was that tilt meters were still detecting movement and therefore it would be unsafe to reinstate in fear of a further slip.
Tilt meter detected soil movement
Can I elucidate a little about the tilt meter detected soil movement. East Cowes is on clay, when the tide comes in the ground rises, when it goes out the ground lowers, imperceptibly, but sufficient to show on a tilt meter.
There are anecdotal incidents that support this; back in the time (1949!) when the Saunders Roe Princess wing spars were being drilled; the spar had been aligned, after lunch break Inspection checked the alignment and found it had moved, the same thing happened again and someone checked the state of the tides which explained the movement.
Next time as soon as the realignment was made it was drilled! Something similar occurred much more recently; probably 1980s.
Same thing happened again
BAE Radar were using one of the old JS Whites machine shops on the river bank to align radar antenna. It was set up; next day checked and it had moved. This was independently put down to misalignment caused by the tide.
The object of the story being it should be expected the tilt meters to show movement on the slip.
Wheelchair access and footpath
I can see the removal of the slip debris and shoring/piling of the remaining slip too expensive for a road just going to Castle Point.
But surely a wheelchair accessible footpath can be made over the slip with full access to beaches!
Could volunteers do the work?
East Cowes has a strong Community Spirit. In New Zealand if something like this slip happened, locals would band together; Tree Surgeons and people with Earth Moving Equipment would make the pathway and remove debris; all they would ask is the cost of fuel; they’d give time and equipment use free.
Volunteers would do general labouring, path making, fencing and clean up. Surely health and safety would be covered because everyone volunteered.
Unnecessarily restricted beach access
I notice now a road closed sign and locked steel gate is in place; so don’t expect the Town Council to be doing any thing soon. In fact they have further unnecessarily restricted beach access! Wonder why.
Could it be a long term plan to sell on the sea frontage for property development?
After so many years of non usage; and that must be coming up soon; I suspect the land will be sold by our Council. Hope I’m wrong, but remain a realist.
What are you going to do about it?
So what are the new prospective council candidates going to do about it?
That is the question. The existing bunch have made it abundantly clear – nothing!
Image: © Mike Collins