Matthew Price, Isle of Wight councillor for Newport North Inc Whippingham South shares this latest news on the plans to include housing on Seaclose Park as part of the Newport Harbour Masterplan. Ed
Opposition is growing to a controversial proposal to build 40 houses on Seaclose Park at Newport.
A petition against the plan organised by Isle of Wight councillor Matt Price (pictured) has gathered over 1,600 signatures in just over 24 hours, while Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council are also to discuss local concern at the proposals at its meeting next week.
Matt is working to gain support from all the IOW Councillors in the Newport area and also along with Cllr Craven and all his colleagues on NCCC – to together call on the Isle of Wight Council’s Cabinet not to endorse the proposal.
Unacceptable loss of leisure and amenity land
Matt believes the development would be an unacceptable loss of leisure and amenity land that would devastate what is one of the Island’s most-used recreational areas.
The housing proposal is contained in the IW Council’s draft Newport Harbour Masterplan – a blueprint for the regeneration of the town’s harbour and surrounding areas.
Matt, whose Newport North ward includes Seaclose, said:
“I think everyone will welcome attempts to regenerate the harbour and the surrounding area, and, by all means, consider housing on some of the brownfield land that is available – there is plenty of it and I have suggested other better sites to council officers.
“But looking to chew up swathes of green amenity space is completely unacceptable to me and many more in the community, particularly these who use Seaclose Park.
“To even consider building intensive housing on a public park that provides breathing space for the town and its residents is plainly wrong.”
Matt who is also Vice Chairman of Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council said other Newport councillors including Geoff Brodie, Julie Jones-Evans, Shirley Smart and Richard Hollis had all voiced concerns about the plans ahead of a meeting of Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council next week.
“I would not want to pre-empt discussion of course but I would be very surprised if the Community Council did not share our concerns when the proposals are discussed.
“The number of people signing the petition and the speed at which it is growing speaks volumes about how unpopular this plan is among Newport residents. I have not heard a single local voice in favour. Seaclose has been a much-loved, and greatly-used park for generations – it is totally inappropriate for any housing project. The whole community is against it.”
This project must be removed from the Masterplan
Matt made clear that the entrance to Seaclose Park on Fairlee Road is as important as the park itself, saying:
“This park is so important and so special that this project must be removed from the Masterplan in its entirety.
“I cannot support losing this valuable greenfield amenity space”.
Fairlee Service Station owner not collaborating
The plan is also unviable as it involved land currently occupied by Fairlee Service Station and the site owner had this week taken to social media to clarify that he is not collaborating with the local authority over use of the site – despite claims by the council’s director of regeneration.
In fact, it appears the council are implying that the site owner is involved in the project, when in fact he has only heard from the council’s external consultants once.
Not only deeply unpopular, it is also evidently unfeasible
“This plan it not only deeply unpopular, it is also evidently unfeasible. There is increasing local anger at the way in which council officers and the regeneration consultants have promoted this plan and there is now a growing determination to rise up against it. It is also NOT part of Newport Harbour.
“The council’s cabinet meets to discuss the masterplan in August and I urge councillors to do the right thing and drop any plan to place housing on Seaclose Park.”
Matt said he also feared an intensive housing scheme could also cause a conflict between new residents and the IW Festival which is held annually at Seaclose.
View the petition
Matt’s petition can be viewed and signed via the Change.org Website