Mother Nature rages

By Mal Butler Jan 5, 2024
The fire service were helping people trapped at Banger's Whistle

Mother Nature caused yet more misery on the Island this week as Storm Henk hit.

Flood warnings were issued for many areas, and another large piece of land dropped into the sea as the Island took a battering.

The landslip took place at Luccombe Beach, Shanklin, on Tuesday, covering the entire beach at the far end of the Bay, as the Island suffered winds of up to 94mph and torrential rain. It follows last month’s devastating Bonchurch landslip, as the Island has recorded its second-highest annual rainfall since records began. As heavy rain lashed down again yesterday (Thursday), an Isle of Wight Council spokesman said: “Our coastal team will be maintaining a watching brief on the cliffs across the south of the Island, as the prolonged wet weather and stormy seas will lead to further cliff falls and erosion events.

“We remind people to stay away from the edge and base of cliffs and pay attention to warning signs and messages.”

Shanklin was flooded pic: Mica Hicks

Ryde residents in the Strand area were bracing themselves for more flooding, just weeks after Storm Babet caused significant damage to around 100 homes in the area. The Strand and the Esplanade were flooded by 5pm yesterday, but unlike during the previous incident, flood boards at the Simeon Rec were put fully in place by the Environment Agency.

There was flooding and fallen trees in towns and villages across the Island, with Island Roads attending 26 weather related incidents over two days. A spokesman for the company urged Islanders to take additional care on the road network in the wet and windy weather.

The carnage caused by the storms – the country has suffered seven since September – also continues to wreak havoc on roads in and around Ventnor. Cracks and dips have appeared in a Ventnor highway following recent repairs to damage to a sewer at The Graben, the main road which separates the Upper and Lower parts of the town.

An Island Roads spokesman confirmed: “The Graben is a known geological location which is often subject to ground movement.

“The area is monitored by specialist electronic equipment installed in the ground as well as visual inspections. Island Roads are aware of the signs of movement. We remain alert to take necessary action should it be deemed necessary.”

If The Graben is closed while Leeson Road, Bonchurch, remains closed, the only access into Ventnor will be via Whitwell.

Meanwhile, Ventnor Town Council has ‘strongly objected’ to plans for residential lodges near the cliff edge in Bonchurch.

Councillors agreed on Tuesday that any developer would be ‘crazy’ to take on the project which could see four single-storey homes built at Riviera Park, the former Westfield Holiday Centre.

The plans were submitted at the end of November, just days before the major landslip in the village, which has seen residents evacuated from their houses, businesses affected and the main route from Ventnor to Shanklin closed.

The proposals have been met with local outcry, with residents saying that the area has also had minor cliff falls within the past two months.

Speaking yesterday, Cllr James Toogood said that, with the current movement in Ventnor, “any engineer would be a mad man to put their hat to it” and branded the plans as “ridiculous”. He said: “The [potential ground] disturbance would be phenomenal; it is too dangerous.”

The plans can be viewed at: 23/02114/FUL, on the Isle of Wight Council’s planning register. Comments can be submitted until January 17.