WITH only 17 months until the entire Ryde Interchange project needs to be delivered, the Isle of Wight Council is proposing to make changes to the controversial highways scheme.

The implementation of the scheme was delayed by four months earlier in the year to allow a detailed review of consultation responses, giving Islanders more of a voice.

Following 2,000 paper and online responses, the authority has suggested 20 changes to a portion of the project it is in charge of — although the layout of the scheme is largely unchanged.

Isle of Wight County Press: The first version of the council's Interchange plans.The first version of the council's Interchange plans.

In a report, council officers said the findings of the consultation had 'positively informed the evolution of the design, materials and landscape planting' leading to the modifications.

Isle of Wight County Press: The council's revised Interchange plans.The council's revised Interchange plans.

So what are some of the proposed changes:

  • The parking bays to the west of the pier access road removed
  • Services left in place at Western Gardens, following the demolition of the cafe and public toilets, to serve future concessions or facilities for beach users
  • Pedestrian access to the main historic pier retained as well as the rejuvenation of the former tramway pier into a cycle and walkway
  • Temporary toilets provided at Western Gardens prior to the demolition of the current toilets and until the new facilities are opened in the train station
  • Retain the tulip tree
  • The signal controls of the George Street junction would be triggered only by bus or pedestrian demand and not cyclists
  • Access control barriers to the pier removed
  • Real-time travel information and seating in the bus shelters
  • Cycle or scooter parking provided near the station
  • Raised planting beds constructed from the stone walls of the Rose Garden
  • Ground-level planting beds installed where people would not be encouraged to wait
  • Multiple paving and different colour 'tarmacs' to signify different areas and also 'reduce the visual perception of carriageway width'
  • The exit to the pier moved 'marginally' to the west allowing the signalised esplanade crossing to be moved to improve visibility

Read the full list of changes in the council report HERE.

Despite all the proposed amendments, what are some of the controversial ideas that have not changed?

  • The signalised St George's Street junction
  • The demolition of the Western Gardens public toilets and cafe
  • The new access road to the pier
  • The remodelling of the Ryde Bus Station

Another issue which has not been warmly received is the moving of the main taxi rank to in front of the shops on the Esplanade although council officers say the suggestion to move it to the Rose Garden frontage is being explored further.

The finalised design of the Ryde Transport Interchange will not be made until the end of the month but the council's cabinet is being asked to approve the multi-million-pound work at its meeting on Thursday, October 14.

Objectors to the scheme, however, say the changes do not fix the 'major failings'.