Monitoring to continue at Leeson Road

Published: 1 March 2024

The landslide at Bonchurch. Photo: Jacobs

Leeson Road in Ventnor should remain closed until there have been further surveys and monitoring to ensure the safety of road users.

That's one of the findings of a new report commissioned by the Isle of Wight Council into last December's landslide at Bonchurch.

In their study, geological experts Jacobs confirm the natural erosion of the cliff coupled with excess groundwater following one of the wettest years on record, caused around 14 million cubic metres of material to suddenly fall away. 

The landslide complex is still moving and it is expected that there will be further smaller collapses around the fringe of the landslide. A 20 metre safety buffer zone has been put in place for public safety.

The council is keen to reopen Leeson Road as quickly as possible and Jacobs says this might be possible, but only after there have been further monitoring and a real-time warning-response system installed.

Initially, the road would be restricted to a single lane, controlled by traffic lights, however it could eventually reopen fully subject to active monitoring, further surveys and ground investigations.

In the meantime, the council is working with Ventnor Town Council and Southern Vectis to extend the service 31 to Leeson Road to support local residents. 

Natasha Dix, service director for environment and planning, said: "We absolutely recognise the concerns and fears of residents in Ventnor. We're working closely with Island Roads and elected members to keep transport moving and keep the town open for business.

"The Jacobs report recommends we carry out further ground investigations and surveys before we move to reopen the road. Working with our technical consultants, we'll look to do those as quickly as possible to enable this important road to reopen at the earliest opportunity, but public safety has to be our priority."

Photo: The landslide from the air. Jacobs