THERE are no quick fixes in reopening roads affected by wall and embankment collapse, Island Roads tells frustrated residents.


Even before last December's catastrophic landslide in Bonchurch and the wettest February on record, there has been a snowball effect in the number of land movements seen in the south of the Island.

Isle of Wight County Press: Shorwell Shute, Shorwell, in November last year.Shorwell Shute, Shorwell, in November last year. (Image: Pamela Parker)

Isle of Wight County Press: Bonchurch Shute wall collapse.Bonchurch Shute wall collapse. (Image: County Press)

Walls and embankments have collapsed on an almost regular basis — mainly in the Ventnor area. 

Debris not being cleared and walls not being repaired has delayed the opening of roads closed on safety grounds and, with Island Roads having problems identifying landowners responsible for collapsed walls and embankments. 

In recent weeks, Island Roads closed the likes of Sandrock Road, Niton; Shorwell Shute; Bonchurch Shute; and Bath Road and Lower Gills Cliff Road, Ventnor, for such reasons.

This has led to frustrated residents taking to social media, with questions such as "Why can't Island Roads get a wheelbarrow and just move the rocks or suchlike".

The County Press asked Island Roads what action it is taking to solve these problems and help affected areas return to some kind of normality.

Isle of Wight County Press: Niton Road in RookleyNiton Road in Rookley (Image: Island Roads)

Isle of Wight County Press: A collapsed wall in Bath Road, Ventnor. A collapsed wall in Bath Road, Ventnor. (Image: County Press)

"Island Roads appreciates the inconvenience caused by the current access issues in and around Ventnor. We understand this is a difficult time for residents and businesses alike," said an Island Roads spokesperson.

"Where our regular inspections identified the need, we've completed countless schemes to maintain, strengthen or upgrade structures — a number in the Ventnor area alone, including the massive project to rebuild Belgrave Road.

"However, the network is also affected by other walls and embankments, privately owned. It's the landowner’s responsibility to maintain and repair them.

"When failures do occur — whether a wall, embankment or verge — Island Roads does not have the authority to step in and undertake repairs.

"There's a legal process, to provide the owner the opportunity to complete them.

"If the owner doesn't take action, the work may be done by the council or Island Roads, with costs recovered from the owner.

"It's therefore important we do our best to provide them opportunity and support to resolve the matter.

"Unfortunately, during a period of prolonged and heavy rainfall, the risk of land movement, or the failure of retaining walls, increases.

Isle of Wight County Press: Wall collapse in Sandrock Road in Niton.Wall collapse in Sandrock Road in Niton. (Image: County Press)

Isle of Wight County Press: Wall collapse in St Lawrence.Wall collapse in St Lawrence. (Image: County Press)

"There are currently 12 sites across the Island — mostly in the Ventnor area — where private walls have failed, or rocks have come loose from a privately-owned embankment, causing a risk to road users.

"When this risk is removed, we'll be able to re-open the road."

In Gills Cliff Road, Island Roads is considering a ‘catch fence’ to prevent future rockfalls landing on the highway after it destroyed traffic lights.

"When dealing with multiple parties, potentially difficult engineering solutions, and with continued wet weather causing ongoing land movement, it can unfortunately take longer to resolve than any of us would like," Island Roads concluded.