'THEY don't have to live here' — residents of Elmfield have hit back at the decision to expand the Nicholson Road business park.

The application for outline approval of the mixed-use business park in Ryde was approved last week but critics have rejected the decision, especially because of the impact it will have on the town's infrastructure.

Plans were also approved for the infrastructure of the site which will see roads connecting the business park to Smallbrook Lane with a roundabout as well as other junction changes around the Elmfield area despite the strong objection to plans from Island Roads.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Now residents of the area, who are likely to see Elmfield change dramatically in the coming years with a number of major developments planned — Pennyfeathers, Rosemary Vineyard and the new Smallbrook Ice and Leisure Centre — have complained that no one took their views into consideration.

Jenny Wade, a member of Ryde Society, who lives in the area, said Ryde, and indeed the whole Island, urgently needs an infrastructure plan to stop piecemeal developments being approved.

She said: "There have been a number of meetings held were residents asked for the road infrastructure to be sorted out first but there is no commitment and the community's views have been completely ignored.

"Residents of Elmfield are going to be living in a building site for the next 20 years.

"In the planning report, officers said residents of Great Preston Road have to live with traffic noise so, by approving the application, their quality of life isn't going to be any further impacted — I don't think they have the right to say that.

Isle of Wight County Press: The junction between Smallbrook Lane and Great Preston Road (Image: Google Maps)The junction between Smallbrook Lane and Great Preston Road (Image: Google Maps)

"They don't live here. They don't know it is like to live here. No one has come to the road and spoken to residents."

Read more: 'Breathtakingly inadequate' roads proposed for Ryde development — councillor says

Residents of Great Preston Road have suffered from congested traffic over the years, with increasing numbers of heavy goods vehicles, creating tailbacks and making it difficult to access their own properties. Some residents have even said they suffered abuse getting onto their driveways.

Jenny said: "It is like they are saying residents' quality of life can be sacrificed because the Isle of Wight Council was determined to get the application pushed through, having already spent a huge amount of money on it.

"We heard there was no more money for this and you wonder if this has been steamrollered through so they can recover some of the costs that have already gone into it."

At an audit committee meeting last year, an internal report considered the project as high-risk, with the council budgeted to spend more than £750,000 to make a robust business case and carry out all the necessary checks needed for the planning application.

Isle of Wight County Press:

In a bid to save the council money following the impact of Covid-19 on its finances, further enabling works have been postponed. A deficit reduction strategy was approved in July, which will save £260,000, halting plans after planning permission was secured.

The application was granted approval by eight votes in favour to four against.

Read more: Ryde business park extension approved despite highways fears