NEWPORT and Carisbrooke Parish Council has called for an immediate halt to the St Mary's Roundabout scheme.

As reported, the roundabout will be scrapped and replaced with traffic light junctions as part of a wider project to remodel the road layout from Asda to Camp Hill — funded by a £9.6 million government grant — aimed at improving traffic flow and reducing congestion in Newport.

Read more: Dates for St Mary's Roundabout roadworks announced — Isle of Wight Council warns people to prepare for 15 months of disruption

At Monday's parish council meeting, councillors voted overwhelmingly in favour of asking the Isle of Wight Council to halt the works.

Chair, Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, said the parish council had twice requested a briefing on the St Mary's scheme to be held at a public meeting, to ensure councillors, businesses and residents were fully informed.

She said both requests were turned down. Instead, councillors were offered a private briefing with highways contractor Island Roads — a response the parish council felt was inadequate, given the scale of the project and the impact it would have.

Vice chair, and member of the Isle of Wight Council's ruling Conservative group, Cllr Matthew Price, proposed the scheme be halted.

He said: "I have no option but to request parish council members support me in asking the Isle of Wight Council to immediately halt the proposed junction works at St Mary's.

"While this scheme has some merits and would provide extra capacity, it fails to provide relief to the constant congestion experienced throughout Newport.

"I represent residents on Staplers Road, Fairlee Road, lower Newport High Street and part of Coppins Bridge. Residents and commuters daily have to put up with unacceptable levels of congestion.

"It is my view that alternative traffic improvement schemes should be implemented first. An example being adding the proposed extra lane between the Matalan Roundabout and Coppins Bridge — a scheme that would offer an instant benefit and solve multiple problems while also providing some future capacity.

"It is also worth noting that St Mary’s, being the largest planned scheme, would prevent any other scheme coming forward for at least the next two years.

"I am asking my colleagues to vote, asking the Isle of Wight Council not to proceed any further on the St Mary's scheme, until other improvements have been completed.

"This will send a clear message, voicing our overwhelming opposition to this scheme."

Cllr Jones-Evans said the new St Mary’s junction layout was fundamentally different from the one consulted on a year ago, and should have been resubmitted for public scrutiny.

"It's the wrong scheme, at the wrong time, and is going to cause massive disruption in addressing a problem that ranks well below those seen around Coppins Bridge and St George's Way," she said.

"Businesses on the industrial estate and town will suffer for many months, not to mention local residents."

UPDATE: An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: “The St Mary’s junction improvement scheme is designed to reduce congestion now as well as ‘future-proofing’ this very busy junction.

“It is the largest of a package of schemes designed to improve traffic flows through Newport.

“Other schemes, such as the new arrangements at St George’s Way and Shide, have already been implemented, while others which will follow in the next three to five years — including the link between Coppins Bridge and the Matalan roundabout, which has also been given the go ahead — are still being planned.

“Collectively these schemes, once completed, will transform the flow of traffic in and around Newport and leave us better placed to unlock other regeneration schemes in this area.

“The St Mary’s junction scheme includes benefits for vehicular, pedestrian, cyclist and local bus traffic with new, widened shared-use cycle/pedestrian facilities.

“We have made significant changes to the scheme in response to suggestions made during the public consultation, and the project has undergone an independent, external review to be absolutely certain that it presents the best possible approach to the improvement of that key junction.”

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