A PETITION to get the changes to Ryde Esplanade to go through the planning process has been rejected despite one councillor calling the scheme 'sheer vandalism'.

Being presented to the full Isle of Wight Council last night (Wednesday), residents against the Ryde Interchange project had banded together to stop the work getting 'bulldozed through' under permitted devleopment rights, without the need for planning permission.

It had been signed by more than 2,500 people.

Speaking on behalf of Cathy Foulkes, Bob White said the proposed highway changes, including more traffic lights, would make the Esplanade less safe and more congested.

He said: "It is not an improvement and it will not enhance the Ryde environment. It is absurd, in 2021, for anyone to introduce new traffic lights that are unnecessary."

Mr White said it was an unsustainable carbuncle that would ruin Ryde's reputation and he hoped something different could be done to achieve more of the town's objectives.

Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, Cllr Phil Jordan, however, said the motion was undeliverable, impractical and not appropriate.

He said there were many aspects of the scheme that did not require planning permission so would never be granted but where changes needed to be made that required permission, the council would always make proper applications.

The work, Cllr Jordan said, was not under permitted development rights but under highway improvement rules and regulations.

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Former cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, Cllr Ian Ward, said Ryde Interchange was part of a bigger scheme, involving Hampshire and Portsmouth, to help people and traffic move through the area as quickly as possible.

Cllr Ward said he had been at the council long enough to see the previous interchange scheme fall through and it just seemed like people did not want change to happen.

Cllr Peter Sprink spoke in favour of the petition and said as a democratic council, it should listen to 2,500 people.

Disagreeing with the scheme, which would see the public toilets and cafe at Western Gardens be demolished, Cllr Vanessa Churchman said she found it sheer vandalism to destroy the area.

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She said she had never had a problem with traffic in the area and could not see any justification for altering the road layout.

Cllr Julie Jones-Evans said it was good the petition had come forward but was slightly misleading as it is a separate planning process and any significantly adverse effects to the environment had not been proved.

She said the Island needed to embrace it and see it as improving a very important gateway to Ryde, with regeneration in the area just beginning.

Saying he was sitting on the fence, Cllr Daryll Pitcher said he disagreed with the scheme and viewed it as a good excuse for the council to spend a lot of money that would not benefit the Island, but from a procedural point of view, the scheme did not fall under the planning process so the petition was askew.

Five councillors voted in favour, however, 26 voted against, with one abstention which saw the petition fall.

A report of all the responses to the council's consultation will come to the cabinet's meeting in October where the latest plans for the scheme, which are being minorly altered, will be presented.