Ryde Appley and Elmfield Ward Meeting 1st February – Cancelled.
My February Ward Meeting on 1st February has been cancelled due to a family event scheduled on the same day on the mainland. One of our sons is getting engaged and there is meet the family event. My next ward meeting is March 7th 2024 at St. John’s Hall. I apologise for this. Please contact me if there is anything urgent we need to discuss on firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2024 Update!
The time seems to fly by and we are now into February! January has been busy but still many Ryde Appley and Elmfield Ward issues are still in limbo.
Save Westridge Farm Campaign
The campaign continues and we are still waiting for the news from the High Courts on whether residents via Greenfields (IOW) Ltd have gained permission to go to trial/judicial review. It is 4 months now which is unusual and does show how complex the case is how much time is needed to understand it. There is still funds needed and a thank you to Seaview and Nettlestone Parish Council giving £2000 recently. There is £11500 still needed so do click onto site. Curlews (the farmland is a protected site for Curlews and migrating birds) have been spotted and heard by residents and please send photos if you are lucky to get them. They feed and breed on the site this time of year.
Draft Island Plan
The IW Council were due to make a decision on this on 17th January 2024 but the Government published a new National Planning Policy Framework in December 2024 which states Islands in England and Wales that have a high older population and cannot be accessed by a bridge, can use exceptional circumstances with their plan. This reference was taken to mean Isle of Wight and the IW Council has delayed the decision on the Island Plan until March 2024 so legal advice can be sought.
Stop Sewage into the Sea!
My campaign and petition continues and now has nearly 800 signatures. If you haven’t signed yet do click on above. I put my motion to Isle of Wight Council on 17th January but as other items had took the time up, we ran out of time. The motion is being referred to next meeting on the 28th February 2024. This gives time to revise and improve the motion. Surfers Against Sewage are having discussion with Southern Water on getting a greater commitment to stop sewage releases in our sea/beaches.
Pancake Day Fundraising Event and Raising Issue of Food Poverty.
The ward has two food security projects and two others in neighbouring wards. I visited Ryde (IW) Food Bank at Grace’s Church recently and they reported a big increase of individuals and families visiting desperately in need of basic food. I am planning fundraising for the 4 Ryde food projects in Ryde and any support welcomed. The main event will be on the Tuesday 13th February 2023 and I will be sending out details shortly. The event is also in memory of the late Erica Manley, who initiated the event back in 2016 with me. It is the 9th Pancake event this year.
Beach Accessibility and Appley Tower
Appley Tower is progressing and seems to be on time to open early Summer 2024. There is a proposal to have a mural telling the history of the Tower but need to chase this up. I am working with Ryde Town Council, Ryde Community Development Trust (I am Chair), Hovertravel, Isle Access and other local stakeholders on beach accessibility for Ryde and Appley beaches by this summer. We have raised considerable funding and a fundraising event is planned on 2nd May, but this needs to be confirmed.
Toilets at Appley!
The male toilets were severely vandalism and currently shut. RTC are looking at a repair programme but considering putting place portaloos in the interim period. I will keep you posted.
I am planning a newsletter for February/March.
Ryde and Wootton Magazine – February Edition
Every month I write an article in the Ryde and Wootton Magazine and below is my February 2024 copy:
It is a leap year, so February will have 29 days. My daughter, Lucy, now 43, was born in the leap year of 1980 on the 28th February, missing the 29th by a few hours. The word February comes from the Latin word “februm” which means purification and derived from the 13th to 15th February when there was a purification festival in Ancient Rome which involved purifying the city against ill health. This relates to the later Christian tradition of Shrove Tuesday and as we know it “Pancake Day” which this year falls on the 13th February. Shrove Tuesday is the day in Christianity before the fasting months of Lent and traditionally it is when food is used up and pantry gets empty for the next 40 days. Interestingly other languages have words for February that translate into other meanings such as in Old English it is mud or cabbage month, in Finnish it is the month of the pearl, in Polish and Ukrainian it is the month of ice and hard frost, and in Macedonian it is the month of cutting wood.
What we do know is February can be cold so wrap up although now with climate change nature is not sure what the weather is going to be and fasting is a year round reality for many. Climate Change and Food Poverty are the themes of my February report.
Pancake Day (Tuesday 13th February 2024) – Raising Awareness for Food Poverty and Insecurity!
Every year since 2016, I have hosted a Pancake flipping event in Ryde to highlight the issue of food poverty and raise funds for local food projects and charities. Last year I raised £2000 and gave £500 each to Oakfield Food Pantry, Ryde (Isle of Wight) Food Bank, Ryde Aspire Food project, and Oakvale Food Share. These 4 amazing projects support annually 100s if not 1000s of residents who are on low income and at times are forcefully fasting out of necessity for not just 40 days but all year round. These food projects enable them to access basic food for free or at a very low cost. It is a life line for so many which is hard to believe in the 21st Century UK and being one of the richest countries in the World. The cost-of-living crisis has had a huge impact on so many and all the food projects are reporting a major increase in residents in need. Many of those seeking support with the increasing cost of food are families and children. Child poverty is increasing not decreasing. In February I will be hosting in Ryde, the 9th Ryde Annual Pancake event and will continue every year until there are no more children and families in food insecurity on the Island.
Climate Change is with us and it is very real!
I have spoken over many years about the reality of Climate Change and Ryde and the Isle of Wight. In 2023, the island was faced with the largest level of rain in the history of record keeping during August, October, November and December. We had flooding in Ryde, Wootton and all over the Island and landslips in Ventnor. The simple fact in Ryde is that the south of the town is higher than the north which faces the Solent; when it rains heavily all the surface water goes down the hill at fast speed and comes off all the roofs and into the single drainage system which includes sewage. If as happened on the 25th October 2023, there is also the highest record breaking high tide then the contaminated water has nowhere to go but floods houses. Ryde and Isle of Wight has one of the highest levels of sewage releases into the sea on the South Coast and is the responsibility of Southern Water. I have been working closely with Surfers against Sewage, Southern Water, IW Council, Ryde Town Council, Island Roads and Environment Agency to urgently develop a strategy so that we are prepared for extreme weather caused by climate change and make sure we are better prepared for coming years. In January 2024, I put forward a motion to full council with Surfers against Sewage for the Council to make sure Southern Water reduce sewage releases by 100% by 2030.
The message for February as in Ancient Rome our health has to be the focus and we need make sure that all residents are safe, warm, have food security and protected against illness and climate change triggered extreme weather.