BUSINESSES along Ryde Esplanade have hit out at plans to rework the highways network along the seafront.

As part of a £10 million project to improve connectivity with the mainland, in a joint bid between Hampshire, Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight's authorities, proposals have been announced which would change the layout of Ryde Esplanade.

The scheme is funded by the Department for Transport although Wightlink, Southern Vectis and South Western Railway have also made contributions.

As part of the plans, the entrance to the pier would be moved, demolishing a public toilet and cafe that would be relocated into the train station and parking removed in front of shops to be replaced with a taxi rank.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Dave Sargison, owner of the Chocolate Apothecary, said he has problems with the entire scheme with what he calls a lack of consultation and the impact to the environment, businesses, people who live along the Esplanade and traffic has not been thought about.

The tables Mr Sargison puts outside his business he said will also have to be removed to make way for the taxi rank, and will encourage fewer people to eat outside.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Mr Sargison said: "I am not a happy bunny, and neither are a lot of other retailers along the Esplanade. No one has been consulted on this.

"We have been told nothing can be done, it has gone too far. The council is frightened they will lose the money so they are prepared to use it but they have not thought it through — this will create more vehicles on the road and stationary vehicles pumping out emissions.

"It is going to be an interchange to get people away from Ryde when the town is actually coming to life."

The council's strategic manager for regeneration infrastructure and transport capital programme, Dave Newton, said a lot of work has gone into getting the plans where they are now, having been built on plans developed in 2008, with more happening in the last couple of years, checking in with key stakeholders on ideas and issues to address.

Mr Newton said: "It is not that we have just come up with the idea and presented it for consultation now, there has been a long journey that has tried to take in views along that way including community walk rounds to have a look at and develop the idea.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"To those who haven’t been part of those conversations it has been a surprise to see plans laid out like this but I do stress this is a genuine consultation."

He said wider issues raised through the consultation may be taken into consideration.

Mr Newton said businesses are going to be affected, and with a big build project like this which may take a year, a summer season will be affected.

However, he said, they are taking the concern seriously and will do their best to mitigate the impact by scheduling works appropriately and sensibly to minimise disruption around busy times and key events.

He said: "The objective of this is to make the Esplanade much more attractive in the future and an area where people passing through will want to stop and take the time to look around.

"In the long term we fully intend for this to be a huge help for the town and as a stepping stone of wider regeneration and we are working very closely with regeneration partners and colleagues to make this happen.

"We hope [businesses] will feel that benefit and are working hard to ensure they do."

More information can be found here: