E.O Grove, Wootton Bridge:

On Thursday, May 30, I attended a ‘standing room only’ meeting, to learn of the recent amendments made by Wight Building Materials Ltd to their proposal to extract gravel from land in the parish of Wootton Bridge.

In conclusion, we seem to be no further forward with the proposal than my letter published by the County Press on November 26, 2021.

After listening, for an intensive hour and half, to a presentation made by a team of knowledgeable and professional participants, I suggest that our county council representatives invite this presentation party to talk with them before any vote is taken by the councillors, to refer the revised application to our planning authority at Seaclose.

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This is just not a Palmers Road, Wootton parish problem. It should be of concern to all of us living Islandwide.

There are a dozen or more aspects worthy of a full-page write-up, but in the space allowed me I summarise just one aspect that can be easily understood, although not the most concerning, namely vehicle type and vehicle movements.

There will be submissions from various learned and authoritative bodies.

Similar mainland case examples exist that set a precedent — and even they may not have had such convincing reasons for objecting, as those existing to 22/00654/FUL.

It was noted that with the understanding of our councillor and MP, funds will be found to challenge every level of authority on decisions made to give this application a green light.

The road surface for Station Road, Wootton, has probably not been restructured on durable foundations, since it was Beach Lane and Palmers Road has certainly never been so.

If you, the reader, are an Islander and particularly a motorist, please consider the following: 

1. The revised vehicle circuit between Wootton Bridge and St Georges Down will now require the loaded lorries to turn right out of Palmers Road, onto Lushington Hill, towards Newport and travel via the Medina traffic light circus through Blackwater, to St Georges Down. Lorries when empty will now return to Wootton, via Arreton, Briddlesford Road and Station Road.

2. Each empty lorry will weigh 12 tons and carry an additional 20 tons of material. The proposed vehicles will measure 3m in width.

3. With an average of 38 movements a day, while avoiding the school run periods, the result will be a vehicle passing any set point on the circuit, on a working day, every 12 minutes for the next ten years.

4. Ferry traffic from both East Cowes to Sandown Bay and Fishbourne to Newport, back up along Wootton High Street and Lushington Hill. Picture a 32-ton truck waiting to pull out of Palmers Road and a 12-ton vehicle waiting to turn into Palmers Road, both constrained by queues of stationary traffic, which, with scheduled timing, will leave at least four such vehicles locked in queueing traffic at peak or ferry arrival times.

5. Nothing has been said about the cleansing of vehicles before they leave the site, such that no sand deposits are left on the highway.