Isle of Wight Council

Highways PFI

Undercliff Drive Consultation

A consultation on the future of Undercliff Drive has come out in favour of re-opening the road to through traffic.

The council carried out a six-week consultation over the summer seeking the views of residents, businesses and visitors on possible plans to re-open the road which suffered significant landslips in 2014.

Around 770 surveys were completed either online or in hard copy form with around 58 per cent of respondents agreeing or strongly agreeing to the reinstatement of the road to vehicular traffic.

This compared to around 40 per cent of people who strongly disagreed or disagreed with the reinstatement proposals. The remainder neither agreed nor disagreed.

Almost two thirds (63 per cent) of people who gave a PO38 Ventnor postcode — the area in which the Undercliff is located — either agreed or strongly agreed with the proposal.

However, the views of the rest of the Island were less clear with 47 per cent of respondents either agreeing or strongly agreeing with the proposal and an almost identical proportion, 46 per cent, disagreeing or strongly disagreeing.

Undercliff Drive was affected by major ground movement during the very wet winter of 2013/14. The landslides led to the loss of the road at two locations, land-locking nine homes.

Currently, the cost to re-instate the road is estimated to be between £1 million and £2 million.

The main reasons given by those in favour of reinstating the road were improved accessibility, the benefit to tourism and businesses on the Island and the increase in traffic in other locations resulting from the closure.

Those against the proposals — which included Ventnor Town Council — cited the cost of the work, the risk of future landslips and the ecological impacts among their concerns.

The cost of producing a design to re-open the road to traffic is estimated to be around £200,000, and would involve topographic surveys, ground investigation boreholes, a stability analysis and an environmental impact assessment.

Currently, the cost to re-instate the road is estimated to be between £1 million and £2 million, dependent on whether the scheme allowed one or two-way traffic and if the new route was restricted to vehicles below a certain weight.

The council has acknowledged that ground movement will continue in the future and any investment in the area will need to take this into account.

Undercliff Drive consultation analysis