THE St Mary's Roundabout works will cause disruption, but the long-term benefits will outweigh the short-term impact — that was the message from the Isle of Wight Council at last night's (Wednesday) meeting at County Hall.

Councillors backed the scheme by 18 votes to 14, supporting a motion put forward by Cllr Chris Whitehouse that it was the best option in the long run.

The motion said: "The council observes that while the proposed redevelopment of St Mary's Roundabout will inevitably have a short-term impact on traffic flows, the overall benefits of this essential scheme will, in the long run, outweigh that disruption."

All Conservative councillors supported the motion except two — Cllr Matthew Price voted against it, and Cllr Brian Tyndall abstained.

After the motion was approved, council leader Cllr Dave Stewart questioned the need for an extraordinary full council meeting next week — called by opposition councillors who believe the entire scheme should be halted.

Read more: Extraordinary meeting called after Isle of Wight Councillors call for St Mary's Roundabout works to be halted

Cllr Whitehouse agreed it was unnecessary to 'waste public resources' by holding another meeting to discuss the works.

He also said not one resident living in his ward, Newport West, had raised the matter with him.

However, Cllr Paul Fuller said: "This matter is important to all the people on the Island and I think we need to debate it once and for all."

Cllr Price, who has spoken out against the project, said his residents in Newport North would be hugely affected.

"This motion says the impact will be short-term — well, 15 months isn't short-term when you are running a business," he said.

"It seems incredible we are only engaging an audience next week. The communications have been abysmal. We are getting closer and closer to the works and we are realising just how against it residents are."

Read more: Newport and Carisbrooke Parish Council calls on Isle of Wight Council to immediately halt St Mary's Roundabout scheme

Cllr Ian Ward, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, asked for evidence to support opposition councillors' objections to the scheme — describing some claims as 'make believe.'

"We have been advised by professional engineers. I'm not sure how many professional engineers are on the other side of the chamber, but they are talking as if they know all the answers and we are wrong," he said.

"If we cancel these roadworks, you are stuck with this problem for as long as it takes for the government to give us more money to fix it, a couple of decades later."

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

There were calls for the council to be open and transparent about the plan — and Cllr Andrew Garratt said the public had not been properly informed — but Cllr Stewart said: "I think we are being very transparent and we are happy that people understand what is going on and why we did what we did."

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