The Pennyfeathers site in Ryde has been called a ‘stark wasteland’ following a recent clear up — and it could be 2022 before work begins on the 904-home development.
Two houses owned by the developers at Westridge junction had greenery cut down and replaced by fencing last week, which appeared to signal the start of work on the project.
Complaints from neighbours
However, the houses, purchased as part of plans to redevelop the road network, were only cleared in response to complaints from neighbours.
Concerns had been raised about overgrown gardens, dripping taps and a rat infestation.
Lilley: “A stark wasteland”
Cllr Michael Lilley (Ryde East), said the sites now looked worse than before.
“What they have done has partly helped, but it has made an eyesore look worse.
“They have technically tidied up, made it safer for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians, but visually you now starkly see empty boarded-up housing.
“It is a stark wasteland and looks like a building site. It has not really made it secure as the fencing is waist-height in parts.
“It shows how much contempt Pennyfeathers Jersey has for the local community. Residents have just had to put up with this despicable behaviour.”
Winkles: Shocked to see the devastation
Mark Winkles, director of Westridge Garage, which sits opposite the houses, echoed the concerns.
“As a local resident and business owner I am quiet shocked to see the devastation caused by ripping out the trees and shrubs from the two properties.
“This does not look good for Ryde and must be upsetting for other residents.
“We are currently refurbishing our showrooms and making an effort to make our site attractive and presentable to customers.”
Outline permission granted
Outline planning permission for Pennyfeathers was first received by the council in 2014, but was not granted until September 2017.
The permission lasts three years, so the applicants have until September 2020 to submit their next application, providing more detail.
They would then have a further two years to begin work on site, which could be as late as September 2022.
Lilley: Not good for businesses or community
Cllr Lilley said:
“The community has been in limbo for years. This junction is the entrance to Ryde and not good for businesses or the community as visitors are faced with decaying buildings.”
The only detailed application so far, submitted in February 2018, proposed plans for moving Westridge Garage, which the garage owners agreed to. It was rejected by the council based on traffic concerns. No planning applications have been made since.
Agent: People are ‘just scaremongering’
Glen Hepburn, of planning consultant Hepburns, which is managing the project, said the development was still going ahead and people were ‘just scaremongering’.
He said they would not be rushed by neighbours to make a detailed application when they have until September 2020.
Council blamed for delays
Mr Hepburn also blamed the council for some delays, saying they were taking up to six months to respond to letters.
“They just don’t seem to get it that time is really important.”
IWC in ongoing dialogue
The Isle of Wight Council said it was in ongoing dialogue with Pennyfeathers, but infrastructure management and improvements must be agreed before developments can take place.
There was a site visit in June, and the timetable for the junction surveying work had been clearly explained to them.
The council said it will continue to work with Pennyfeathers to ensure a sustainable development that benefits the wider community.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed