Residents react to Sandown Airport ’employment park’ plans

Residents have reacted to a planning application for a major new development in Sandown that could create 400 jobs.

The planning application was submitted on Friday (July 20) to Isle of Wight Council (IWC) on behalf of Island Airport LLP.

The “employment park” will occupy land to the west of Scotchells Brook Lane and north of Newport Road – between Apse Heath and Lake, near Morrisons and Aldi.

The proposed site will be split into six commercial buildings that are to be used for a mix of industrial, storage, distribution, museum, and leisure purposes.

The planning statement reads: “This is a major job creating and economic investment opportunity with significant positive regeneration benefits.”

The IW Observer visited Sandown and spoke to local residents, employees and business owners to get their thoughts on the plans.

"Very good idea", says Mark Bennett - photo by Joe Burn
“Very good idea”, says Mark Bennett – photo by Joe Burn

Mark Bennett is a credit controller for Severnside Wholesalers Ltd, their warehouse is behind Aldi in Lake, just a stone’s throw away from the possible development site.

He said: “Good idea. Very, very good idea. Yes, we need to do something on the Island because if we don’t the youngsters will have nowhere to be employed – other than supermarkets, and you don’t want youngsters doing that all the time do you?

“Yeah so it’s a good idea. Do we know though, what employment is going to be in there? We don’t do we? Once that’s identified, that’ll be great.. Hopefully.”

David Stoneham thought it could be a good idea “on balance” – photo by Joe Burn

David Stoneham, a Hackney carriage driver, lives close to the “employment park” site. He had mixed thoughts about the plans but overall thought it was a “good idea”.

Mr Stoneham said: “I think probably on balance it’s going to be a good idea. We always knew there was going to be some sort of development over there.

“If it’s something that’s going to bring jobs, the only negative I can think of would obviously be the traffic, because it has got worse since they’ve built Aldi and even when the pub went up – getting out of here has gotten a lot more difficult.

“It’s swings and roundabouts, I can see some benefits and I can see some negatives.”

Paul Powell - photo by Joe Burn
Paul Powell  had some transport link concerns but thought the idea was a good thing – photo by Joe Burn

Paul Powell, a DPD delivery driver, said: “If they get the right infrastructure; i.e. the right transports links, a road in, a road out, otherwise it will bottleneck just there won’t it?

“It could be quite good, anything that brings employment is always good.”

The development site – Credit: Google Maps

Steve Furber who works nearby and didn’t want to be photographed hoped there would be a KFC on the site.

He said: “It would be nice to have Sandown redeveloped, there’s not much been happening for years, so…

“They’re doing a little bit here now with the Spithead [Business] Centre so yeah, I hope there’ll be a KFC!”

Terry Johnson, owner of Design Invent Print - photo by Joe Burn
Terry Johnson, owner of Design Invent Print – photo by Joe Burn

Terry Johnson owns the Design Invent Print business in the Spithead Business Centre, which is opposite the existing part of Sandown Airport.

He admitted he hadn’t heard anything about it at all and would really like to know more and perhaps have been more informed by IWC and the developer Island Airports LLP.

Coral Palmer – photo by Joe Burn

Coral Palmer lives close to the development area, but admitted she didn’t know much about the plans, she did have something to say about it though.

She said: “If it brings work, it brings work doesn’t it? You can’t afford to turn work down, I don’t think so anyway. I don’t know much about it mind, but it sounds a good idea.”

If granted permission, it is unlikely the “employment park” would be completed for at least seven years.

Comments on the application must be made close of business on Friday (August 10) – you can submit plans via IWC’s website here