14 Feb 2014

Undercliff Drive closed following safety concerns

The Isle of Wight Council has this evening (Friday 14 February) for safety reasons taken the decision to close the remaining vehicular access for nine properties in an area known as ‘Woodlands’ along Undercliff Drive between Niton and St Lawrence.

Residents living in the area have been advised of the deteriorating condition of Undercliff Drive arising from land movement affected by ongoing adverse weather conditions.

Officers from the council have this afternoon visited all of the affected residents to alert them to the changing situation and give them the opportunity to move their vehicles from the area (to a nearby on-street location) prior to the closure. This has now been completed.

The residents of one property chose to leave their home this afternoon. They were advised to vacate the property following an inspection by building control officers from the Isle of Wight Council.

Continual ground movement

Residents of the other properties have been advised to consider whether they wish to remain in their homes given the closure of the road and lack of vehicle access for them, together with continual ground movement in the area.

Pedestrian access remains available to residents only, subject to safety instructions.

Bill Murphy, head of planning and regulatory services, said: "We have been closely monitoring the situation and liaising with residents since new cracks began to appear in the area earlier this week.

"Unfortunately the situation has developed rapidly and for reasons of safety we have taken the decision to close the road to vehicles.

"We have been liaising closely with residents over the past few days and are continuing to keep them updated of the situation and offer advice and support."

The council is also liaising with utility companies to assess the impact of further ground movement on water and electricity supplies to the properties.

Assistance provided

Measures put in place to assist with the situation have included the following:

  • A 24 hour emergency phone number for affected residents.
  • Building control officer inspections for affected properties.
  • Regular inspections of the site by Island Roads staff, council officers and the coastal management team.
  • Assessments by the fire and rescue service should they – or other emergency services - need to access the area in an emergency.
  • The fire service will assist with the moving of any vulnerable residents.
  • Increased police patrols in the area and mobile and static CCTV.
  • Emergency lighting erected in the area.
  • Fencing erected to prevent public access to the affected area.
Councillor Steve Stubbings, deputy leader of the Isle of Wight Council and local member, said: "This is a desperate situation for the residents involved and my heart goes out to them.

"We appreciate that this is an extremely anxious time for the people living in the affected area and are doing all we can to keep them informed of the rapidly developing situation and provide advice. The council and its partner agencies are continuing to work together to ensure the safety of residents in the area."

Members of the public are advised to stay away from the area.

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Cracks appearing in the road
Cracks appearing in the road
  • Undercliff Drive runs between Niton and St Lawrence near Ventnor.
Isle of Wight, UK