Richard Ferraro FRIBA, Bonchurch:

A transport crisis is emerging across the South Wight.

The roads to Bonchurch, Ventnor and St Lawrence are now physically precarious, inadequate, or closed.

To address South Wight issues, the Isle of Wight Council must rapidly secure funding for four priority projects: First (urgent), engineering works to secure the A3055 between Shanklin and Ventnor (Leeson Road), closed late last year.

Isle of Wight County Press: Leeson Road, Bonchurch.

Second (urgent), engineering works to secure the B3327 at the Graben in Upper Ventnor, which is actively subsiding.

Third (high priority), land stabilisation and/or re-routing of The Military Road in two locations (also the A3055).

Fourth (medium term), extend the Island Line railway from Shanklin to Ventnor, via Wroxall. (Ref: CEBR’s report of 2021.)

About the A3055, it is an essential artery for cars, buses, commercial vehicles, emergency services, and tourists.

Now, with the A3055 closed at Leeson Road, excessive stress has been put on the B3327, bringing unwelcome hazards to Wroxall, Upper Ventnor and its schools.

As summer advances, congestion will increase. Of note, the road surface through Wroxall is already breaking up.

Coming soon, with active subsidence at the Graben, the B3327 will close with traffic diverted through Whitwell, Chale and Godshill.

With the A3055 and B3327 closed; Bonchurch, Ventnor and St Lawrence will be in serious trouble. How will residents get to work? How will children get to school? How will tourism operate? How will businesses survive? What about emergency services?

With certainty, solutions exist to re-open Leeson Road. Perhaps soon, with only one lane and traffic lights?

For long-term stability, a reinforced concrete land-dam may be required, with deep piled foundations.

In my opinion, expert engineers should already be designing options for those works.

Appraisal of options cannot be delayed until physical monitoring is complete. Especially if lengthy negotiations follow between IW Council and Island Roads, about PFI liabilities.

Left to ‘normal process’, Leeson Road could be closed for years.

Meanwhile, Ventnor will fail.

To avoid this, I request that a “South Wight Transport Steering Group” is set up quickly by the IW Council, to manage the crisis and deliver solutions at pace.

The group must include high-level decision-makers from the IW Council and Island Roads, community representatives, and expert engineers.

As chair, I propose Wendy Perera, chief executive, IW Council.

With urgency, the residents and businesses of Shanklin, Bonchurch, Ventnor, St Lawrence, Wroxall, Whitwell, Niton, Chale and Godshill all need to know when essential repairs will be completed at Leeson Road and the Graben.

In addition, the wider community must know that the South Wight will be served by roads that are reliable and secure long-term; and that the Island Line will be extended to Wroxall and Ventnor by 2035.

A detailed response from the IW Council will be appreciated.