An extension to the Ryde’s Nicholson Road business park has been given the green light.
At a meeting of the Isle of Wight Council’s planning committee, proposals from planning officers were approved to grant permission for the extension of Nicholson Road — with 47 conditions between the 2 applications.
Chris Ashman, the council’s director of regeneration, said this project played a key role in the regeneration programme and was not about building more ‘soulless tin sheds’. He said:
“It is about providing employment in places where people will want to work – in a high-quality natural setting that is in complete harmony with our UNESCO Biosphere.
“Working with other stakeholders, we will ensure the homes, jobs and supporting infrastructure proposed in the area will be joined up and further enhance the Island’s offer to live work and do business”.
The park has been approved with outline plans for a mixed use community hub and business areas which include the use of the space for offices, retail, a cafe, 15 flats reserved for key workers, a gym and general industrial areas.
Speaking as the ward councillor for Ryde East, Cllr Michael Lilley said the whole scheme was half-baked, desperate and would haunt Ryde and its residents. He said:
“Pushing the planning permission through to access funding is irresponsible. The future for Ryde looks bleak, with decades of eye-sore half-finished building sites designed for a pre-Covid world that time will pass by and put a nail in the coffin of Ryde’s future.”
While councillors were in favour of the employment aspect of the development, more than one objection was made regarding the highway works surrounding the extension, including the junction with Smallbrook Lane and Great Preston Road.
Public objections from The Ryde Society and Ryde Town Council, who officers wrongly said supported the development, questioned whether the infrastructure had been properly thought out, with Ryde councillor Phil Jordan echoing Island Roads recommendation for refusal as it would go against some of the Isle of Wight council’s own core planning strategy. He said:
“We are not against jobs being created in our town but we absolutely must continue to voice our concerns about a sustainable and efficient transport network.”
Alan White, highways development control officer for Island Roads, highlighted reasons for refusal in his original report, which included safety concerns for the Smallbrook mini roundabout, the impact capacity of Westridge Cross and the limited width of Great Preston Road. He said:
“We have shown while the proposed layout [of Smallbrook Lane] offers an element of improvement it still wouldn’t be suitable for large vehicles which we see an increased potential of large vehicles moving through the route.”
Committee member Cllr Matthew Price said:
“I am a bit concerned that we are going against the view of Island Roads but on the other hand, all the other developments all the highway improvements will come forward to complement this.
“Thankfully, for once we are looking at something that is virtually all employment, and not building houses all over green space, putting employment into an area that much needs it.”
Councillors on the planning committee voted in favour of approving the development 8 to 4.