Pennyfeathers: Island’s largest new housing scheme proposed

Proposed scheme would be be developed over ten years, changing the area considerably.

A scheme proposing to develop the Pennyfeathers site on the outskirts of Ryde has been lodged with the Isle of Wight council, reports the CP today.

The 900+ homes scheme would see significant remodelling over the 130 acre site over the next ten years, including the moving of the Westridge garage, which would be replaced with a community centre, incorporating a GP’s surgery.

The new mini-town would have its own 420-pupil primary school, shops, business park and own energy plant.

Of the proposed 904 new homes, 35% of them (316) would be ‘affordable’.

Various infrastructure changes
Infrastructure changes would include changing the current Westridge traffic lights to a roundabout, building an underpass below Smallbrook Lane, a footbridge over the railway line, to connect to Smallbrook Stadium and the Smallbrook Lane road bridge would be rebuilt and realigned.

Little is currently known about the company behind the scheme, Pennyfeathers Property Company Ltd.

Previous opposition
Residents of the area have for years been concerned about the potential development of the site.

Most recently in February last year (2012), concerned residents launched an online petition, with one of their major concerns being the loss of the greenfield site.

See it on a map
To understand the possible scale of the proposal, we’ve created an interactive map, below, based on the Isle of Wight council’s own research (PDF) when plotting out potential sites around the Island for housing development.

View Pennyfeathers: IWC proposed development land in a larger map

Image: Google Maps, based on IWC proposed development areas

Friday, 25th January, 2013 8:19am



Filed under: Isle of Wight News, North Wight, Planning, Ryde, Isle of Wight, Top story

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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. I say go for it – This land isn’t used for any purpose, yet is in an ideal location to extend Ryde town.

    It would adjoin nicely to the area of the business park, Tesco, Mc Donalds and the new Busy Bee.


    My concerns are that it could potentially lead to another Oakfield/Elmfield location with a bad reputation and crime.

    Another issue I have, will it be developed much like Hawthorn Meadows, Pan Meadows and other smaller developments where the roads are not ‘proper roads’ – No one seems to build proper roads or proper estates (like Binstead) anymore!

  2. If the surrounding residents had not complained abut the “farm smells and flies” this wouldn’t have happened and would still be a working farm. These residents should not complain at all as it is entirely their fault. They forced the closure of the farm, forcing the owner to sell up. It is an extreme double standard for the residents to launch a petition to stop the development, when these same residents launched a petition to close the farm.

  3. I don’t think complaining about the farm is to blame. What’s to blame is the idea (rightly or wrongly) that every person should own a home with a spare bedroom and a back garden.

    If people were seriously concerned about the development of a greenfield site, then perhaps they should allow for further density of the town centre.

    Not only would this increase footfall in the town and thus encourage shop usage and the improvement and return of other amenities, but it would allow this ‘precious’ green space which nobody uses to remain and limit the unnecessary sprawl of what only needs to be a very small town. Greater density would also allow for fewer cars clogging up our roads, it would encourage a healthier lifestyle with an increase in walking and cycling, and it would allow for a greater sense of home (flat) ownership among the young.

    The only problem with all of this is the uninspired and disproportional design the council has allowed to get through the planning system when it comes to ‘urban’ redevelopment.

    • Having said that, development of this would create more short term jobs and investment for the island.

      • Not necessarily true- look at the new Pan Estate build, the majority of the construction work seems to have been done by mainland companies using the odd Island company from time to time.

    • This is yet another poisonous legacy of the IWC in its dying gasps- along with the PFI contract, (probably) the Asphalt plant, a lousy education structure and performance and so on.

      Some salient questions.

      1.Are we likely to see yet another “Delegated Decision not subject to Call-in because of its ‘urgency'” by somebody who plans to cut and run before 2 May 2013?

      2. Who are the investors and developers comprising Pennyfeathers Property Company Ltd as, so far, I have not been able to detect the company via online sources?

      3. Where are the jobs to come from to support another 900-1800 Island residents?

      4. How many of the houses planned for the enlarged Pan Estate and Pan Meadows have actually been built?

      • greenfiremouse

        25.Jan.2013 7:17pm

        @ cynic: I have not found many references with regard to “Pennyfeathers Property Company Ltd” on the internet either, the majority being Court cases from mid 2012. Also, a few similarly named companies like Pennyfeathers Developments Limited and Pennyfeathers Land and Development Limited (both struck off and dissolved during the past few years) and Pennyfeathers Limited which is still a live company. All of them seem to centre around a certain John Robert Steer and Susan Steer. (Information from dellam.)
        Hope that helps!

  4. Matt Edmunds

    25.Jan.2013 10:42am

    Anyone who thinks these houses aren’t necessary really isn’t aware of the “housing crisis” – an oft-used phrase which a lot of people don’t fully grasp. These houses aren’t for mythical new poeple coming to the Island. There are already too many people chasing too few houses, pushing rents up to a point fast becoming unsustainable. Even the maximum housing benefits are massively lower than the cost of rent for a small house, yet the cost to the taxpayer of housing benefit payments – basically shovelling taxpayer’s money into the pockets of landlords – is becoming a real burden to the economy. As an example, no wonder there are 100 applicants within 24 hours of any decent council house that comes up in Newport. The system is broken, and new houses are definitely a part of the solution.

  5. My concern would be what impact the loss of green fields would have on flooding in Ryde.

    Having been a victim of flooding it is very concerning that there is a plan to concrete over all the fields where Monkton brook runs through. The brook already bursts its banks and floods businesses and properties around the Strand.

    Will the proposed development have its own sewer system? or will it join on to the existing system with no modifications made? The sewer system in Ryde already struggles, in times of bad weather, let alone with an additional 900 houses using the same system.

    • Island Monkey

      26.Jan.2013 8:23pm

      Flooding is a major problem to be overcome.

      Let’s not forget there are another 3-400 homes still to be built off Ashey Road in Ryde. Some of the homes built there have already been on the slide.

      The Island’s population wont grow without jobs. Asda just wont do it.

  6. prewitt parrot

    25.Jan.2013 10:53am

    The stream doesn’t only burst its banks in the town it also does so at Pennyfeathers and these fields are waterlogged all winter, most of the autumn and most of the spring too.

  7. Should be interesting as it gets a wee bit damp in that area…and as long as nobody minds the speedway track or will that be affected? Now where was the proposed go-cart track going to be? Will the current sewage system and surface water runoffs be able to cope with the extra given that the system already creaks at the seams?

    On the plus side, more houses means more trade eventually for the Ryde shops although I feel Tesco would be the main beneficiary. Upgrade for the Smallbrook Junction station, perhaps?

    • prewitt parrot

      25.Jan.2013 3:37pm

      By the time this is built they reckon well over 50% of retail sales will take place over the Internet. How will the people find the jobs to afford to live in these houses? and will they be able to get insurance cover against the flooding?

  8. I expect it will get built, then the residents will complain about the noise of the speedway and we’ll lose that too!

  9. Absolutely brilliant! Now someone please tell me why there are still empty affordable properties at Pan, whether new affordable island homes are being advertised on the mainland (chapter and verse, not rumour), and what new permanent jobs are available for islanders and overners in order to prevent them from joining the growing list of benefit claimants?
    “When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn…”
    … And we don’t even know who Pennyfeathers are…?

  10. I always thought that calling it Pan Meadows was a mistake. I doubted that many Islanders would buy a house on the ‘Pan Estate’. Common sense really.

    • 29 January 2013

      Dear onthewight

      I have read with growing concern about Pennyfeathers. It includes a “SINC” a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation as well as Ancient Woodland.

      The Island Plan does indicate that this massive area can be developed but is this what is required or desired?

      AONB celebrates its 50th anniversary and on its website it can inform people about its work including protecting the many SINC’s on the Isle of Wight, of which Pennyfeathers is one.

      Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs)…

      I read of the people walking through the ancient woodlands but how will they be protected if a massive settlement is placed there?

      Has anyone done a biodiversity survey of the area?

      Is it really necessary to have 904 dwellings on this land at all?

      What about the brownfield sites in the Development Envelope?

      If all the proposed planning applications for development on the Brading Marshes and the Pennyfeathers are given the “green light” then we might as well wave goodbye to the “green areas” that protect our rural areas from Rurban Sprawl and just accept concrete to concrete developments, not to mention the possibility of increased risks of flooding.

      I would like to see the Environment Agency and AONB and Southern Water state what the likelihood is of flooding if these two developments do go ahead.

      I somehow fear that they might increase the risk of flooding in low-lying land.

  11. I totally agree with Rosemary. Ray Mears was on TV recently, celebrating the ancient woods of the Island, & the biodversity of plants & creatures that goes along with it.

    For someone of his travelling experience to be genuinely bowled over by it, was a joy to see. How much longer will the Island be regarded as ‘a jewel’, I wonder. Come in Isle of Wight, your time is up….

  12. “Wild on Wight” has very good information on wildlife and biodiversity.

    It also gives inoformation about “SINCs” on the Isle of Wight, including the
    SINC Pennyfeathers,
    Grid Reference SZ598906

    Isle of Wight Biodiversity Action Plan Woodland Habitat Action Plan

  13. I attended the 200 strong meeting on Monday 18th February 2013 in Garfield road Ryde and not one of the invited guests, namely water authority, Highways, IOW council bothered to show up. People had many concerns about flooding, pollution, demands on infrastructure, noise pollution with a potential 1800 additional vehicles on the road. There were questions about how this development fits with the green Eco Island aspiration and the affect this will have on tourism. Questions were asked, but there was no one to answer them.I was left feeling this is a done deal behind closed doors and that we, the electors, were of no interest. Once you concrete over a beautiful greenspace, it is gone forever!

  14. Did anybody from the alleged sponsors- Pennyfeathers Property Company Ltd- turn up to the meeting ? Apparently it is registered in the Jersey Tax haven.

    [Companies House (UK) shows one Pennyfeathers Ltd (Co. #05846135) but no Pennyfeathers plc – whom the applicant appears to represent- and indicates two companies bearing a Pennyfeathers name were dissolved in 2009/2010.]

  15. James Luke

    13.Jun.2013 7:49pm

    Those opposed to this development may want to consider signing this petition calling for localism to be given greater emphasis in planning decisions =>

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