Seaclose Park plans ‘destructive and unfair’ says Cllr Price

Cllr Price says it’s unfair to consider allocating part of Seaclose Park as any part of support for the harbour and it should be looked at in a much wider view of how it will affect Newport

Plans to build houses on Newport’s Seaclose Park have been branded a destructive and unfair by a local councillor.

At a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council’s harbour committee, Cllr Matthew Price, ward representative for Newport North, which includes Seaclose Park and the eastern part of Newport Harbour, disagreed with plans to regenerate the harbour.

Plans for 40 homes at entrance to Seaclose Park
Outlined in supplementary planning documents, proposed by the Isle of Wight Council, part of the development of the harbour would include building more than 40 houses on the existing entrance to Seaclose Park, coming off Fairlee Road, and include building on the Fairlee Road Service Station’s site.

Price: Ideas I had were not taken into account
Cllr Price said that despite supporting the principles of regenerating the harbour, he had an issue with the proposed housing and lobbied the creators of the masterplan and regeneration team to reconsider.

He said:

“My concern is, as the local member, that this is an absolute destruction of Seaclose Park and the ideas I had don’t seem to have been taken into account, in any form of the masterplan and certainly not in the version we would be looking at.”

Negative effect to the Isle of Wight Festival
Cllr Price also had concerns the development on the edge of Fairlee Road could have a negative effect to the Isle of Wight Festival – as proposals include building houses at the entrance to Seaclose Park which is used as the backstage area.

He said perhaps the festival was now more important than ever — following the cancellation of this year’s event, which was supposed to take two weeks ago, due to Covid-19 fears.

Ashman: Proposals revised least twice due to community feedback
Responding to Cllr Price’s points, Chris Ashman, director of regeneration, said the proposals for Seaclose had been revised at least twice due to community feedback but that the regeneration team were challenged with producing a viable plan that gave the necessary housing opportunities the IW Council’s housing needs strategy requires in Newport.

He said:

“The mix between affordable and privately rented properties that make the overall harbour scheme viable and affordable have been very carefully considered.

“The use of that area from Fairlee Road, that comes into Seaclose, was clearly a challenge in the loss of green space and we are anxious to work with local members to ensure the mitigation of that is managed as carefully and considerately as possible.”

Ashman: Revenue to sustain Harbour has become even more urgent
Mr Ashman also stressed the urgency of bringing the harbour’s regeneration plan forward to help ensure the harbour stayed working, as maintenance and income challenges mount for the harbour because of the council’s overall financial position.

He said:

“The need for the project to create the revenue to sustain the Harbour has become even more urgent and more imperative given the only other sources available are rapidly becoming more difficult by the day.

“The strategy is one for the benefit of the Harbour, Newport and its community as a whole, to make the harbour a better space.”

Price: Unfair to suggest building on Seaclose will benefit Newport
However, Cllr Price disagreed the regeneration of Seaclose would support the harbour and would just affect residents.

He said:

“I don’t think it is fair to even suggest building on Seaclose is going to benefit Newport and its residents.

“It isn’t and what that might bring to the finances to support the harbour in the future flies in the face of what Mr Ashman has just said.

“I have made it clear I am representing Newport North and residents are coming to me with their issues, their concerns and their objections on building on Seaclose Park.

“I cannot get away from feeling it is very unfair to consider allocating part of Seaclose as any part of support for the harbour in the future — it should be looked at in a much wider view of how it will affect Newport, the aesthetics of the biggest park in Newport and how it won’t benefit the local people.

“[The development] has a wider impact – it doesn’t build over the tennis courts, bowls pitch, but it builds right up to it and it changes everything.”

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

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below must comply with the Commenting 'House Rules' and are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

Leave your Reply

13 Comments on "Seaclose Park plans ‘destructive and unfair’ says Cllr Price"

newest oldest most voted

It is not rocket science to work out that the more houses that are built the more green spaces and parks are needed.
It is about time the Island Plan was thrown out as unworkable and the council took some notice of the residents and councillors views.

Geoff Brodie
Well said Matt. Good to see a Tory councillor speaking up for Newport residents. This is all about first putting housing in Seaclose Park and then abandoning any regeneration of the harbour. “The proposals for Seaclose had been revised at least twice due to community feedback” (Ashman), but clearly community feedback was ignored. Newport residents do not want houses at Seaclose. A green lung for many, many… Read more »
Benny C
“Failing to plan is planning to fail”. Well known phrase, simple and self evident good advice. A harbour master plan that works is common sense. It adds value and unlocks potential for the long term. It benefits all users and to the community. It drives success and identity. It gives all stakeholders clarity, a common purpose and a guideline. Has Ian Ward bothered to ensure this valuable… Read more »
Back to the regeneration plan again; there is a dependance on building houses here, there, and everywhere. It matters not what anyone says, the council is hell bent on building and ruining the Island all apparently to increase council tax income. I wonder if it has occured to them that any increase in income could be swallowed up in increased costs elsewhere by bringing in more people… Read more »
Not necessarily building ‘to increase the council tax income’, because the more houses and people there are the more costs the council has. The prime causes of planning problems are changes made by national government which now require councils not to control and plan building but enable it. They are now required to help ‘developers’ to build. Sadly we are being ruled over by a national government… Read more »

I seem to remember that the owner of Fairlee Garage pointed out some time ago that he had no communication from the council and that his garage was not for sale. Has this changed then?

Steve Goodman
Correct; a thriving Island business evidently counting for nothing to the council and their expensive imported consultants, despite all the contradictory hypocritical politician’s puff about valuing, protecting, and working to create more economy-enhancing employment. Which also made me remember the recent assisted greedy land and money grab by the Red Funnel bosses happy to close down precious local world-class skilled business rather than improve their existing car… Read more »
Whenever I have heard Councillor Price speak what he said always made sense BUT sadly he is not always listened to or is chosen to be ignored by the powers that be. I went to the meeting called by our MP regarding the impossible numbers of houses in the Island Plan (10,000+) and Councillor Price was absolutely passionate about protecting the island and it’s residents from over-building.… Read more »
Geoff Brodie

I will never understand what Matt is doing in the Conservative party. He is a councillor who grew up in and cares about Newport and he has real intelligence. He is my councillor and although I can’t vote for him because of the political connection he certainly represents his residents in his half of this side of Newport (east of the Medina) as well as he can.

Well said Councillor Price. Global climate chaos is happening, with increases in extreme weather. South-east England is becoming an unpleasant place to be during heatwaves and droughts. And south-east England, including the Island, is already overcrowded with too many people and too much traffic, and not enough rainfall – we are dependent on water imported from the rest of the country. Except for genuinely affordable council houses,… Read more »
Angela Hewitt

PS. The other problem is, we are run by a “jobs worth” council

Chiverton Paul
Why do we have to destroy open spaces that are valuable and irreplaceable public resources? Why doesn’t the council encourage the redevelopment or repurposing of existing empty buildings on the island? There are plenty of empty commercial properties or large houses all over the island. With encouragement from the council planning department these could easily be repurposed to provide true social / affordable housing instead of paying… Read more »
Angela Hewitt
In 1995 the Isle of Wight became the first Unitary Council in the country. Prior to that there was South Wight Borough Council and Medina Borough Council. Around the same time the UK was divided into 9 Regions. These regions had the powers to make legislation appropriate to the region. The Isle of Wight became part of the South East Region. How this came about I do… Read more »