A multi-million pound agreement to invest in roads and other infrastructure on the Parkhurst estate has been confirmed today (Thursday).
Following the consideration of a report to Cabinet on 11th March – and an in-principle decision – negotiations with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) continued, which included discussions between Bob Seely MP and Ministers, alongside the Council’s efforts. A deal has now been reached, securing considerable investment in the estate over the coming years.
The Council will take ownership of the land from the MOJ, and will receive a multi-million-pound, one-off payment to fund the upgrading and maintenance of the area (including roads, footways and open spaces) to a good standard for the foreseeable future.
Conservative leader Dave Stewart has said:
“This is tremendous news for residents and the Island as our recovery from the pandemic gets underway.
“Although we made an in-principle decision a few weeks ago, we continued negotiations over the subsequent weeks in order to ensure that the best possible deal could be secured. Whilst I cannot – for commercial reasons – mention specific figures at this stage, I can confirm this will mean millions of pounds being invested in the residential streets surrounding the prison estates.
“The Conservative administration has worked hard to secure this investment to improve the quality of the streetscene – and therefore the lives of residents – in this area. This is a major win which has been made possible by a Conservative-run Council working in partnership with the Conservative Government, supported by our MP Bob Seely.
“Many residents have previously told us of their desire to see these roads improved, and this has also been communicated to us via our Conservative candidate in Parkhurst & Hunnyhill, Cara Lock, who has put these views forward to myself and fellow members of the Cabinet over recent weeks.
“As a result of this decision, there will be better roads, better lighting and better paths for many residents on the estate. For these residents, this outcome has been a long time coming and I am pleased that we have been able to secure and agree to this investment.”
Dave Stewart has explained that the money will not resolve all the issues on the estate but it would make a significant difference. He has gone on to say:
“In due course we will arrange a community briefing, so people know exactly what to expect and the timeframes involved.”
“I want to thank the Ministry of Justice, and through them the Government, for this further investment in the Island.
“It builds on the previous £9 million we received which has enabled us to improve St Mary’s Junction and Coppins Bridge Traffic flow. It is also an important step in our ongoing, related negotiations with the MOJ regarding our ambitious plans for delivering new housing – as part of our Garden Isle Regeneration programme – on the former Camp Hill estate.”
Bob Seely MP added:
“This is yet another really good joint effort from “Team Isle of Wight”. I’m delighted that working together we’ve been able to persuade the Government to hand over ownership of the prison estate roads with an acceptable accompanying payment to help fund upgrades and future maintenance.
“This is the result of a good team negotiation from our end, jointly by the Council and myself. The original amount would not have been enough and would have left a significant shortfall, thereby restricting the extent of the improvements which could be made.
“Over the next couple of years we will see work getting underway to improve the roads and street lighting, to improve the quality of the local area and make it an even better place to live.”
Responding to the news, current ward councillor Andrew Garratt has said:
“Since my election in 2017, I have worked with residents to lobby the Ministry of Justice as the estates had deteriorated for over twenty years. For example, in some roads, no streetlights work and there are bad potholes in many roads and pavements.
“We had made some progress ourselves in lobbying the MOJ. For example, a number of streetlights were repaired and replaced last year.
“So I am very pleased that discussions between the Ministry of Justice and the council has led to this agreement as, hopefully, it will take things to a new level.
“Residents will be keen to hear from the council as to which roads and areas are affected. I hope the council will be able to do that speedily, but I recognise that they may still have to do some work to confirm the details.
“Residents will also want the details of how they will be involved and play a full part in the council’s decision-making about the improvements that can be made, in particular getting streetlighting that works across the estates.”