Save Westridge Farm Campaign (crowdjustice.com) Click on this site to see latest update as IW Council is about to issue Consent.
Last Chance to get justice for Ryde residents over Westridge Farm!
Ryde and Isle of Wight residents who have fought since 2020 against a housing development on environmentally important farmland are now faced with reality of IW Council issuing consent in August 2023 during the school holidays. Objectors will have 6 weeks from the day of consent to seek a Judicial Review.
As Ryde Appley and Elmfield Ward Councillor, I am writing to reaffirm my commitment to my residents in their fight for justice to uphold their objections to 472 houses being built on historic and ancient farmland and seek judicial review. This has always been a David and Goliath fight with residents on modest incomes against the power and money of IW Council, the landowner and the developer. A local authority and big business fighting against the people, where the people have to find the money to challenge the stack of lawyers freely available to those with the money. Hundreds of residents have chipped in through a crowdfunding site to get their own lawyers to challenge a flawed process that has meant IW Council granting planning approval.
Not a fair weather councillor
I have supported residents in my ward since 2016 as firstly a Ryde Town Councillor and from 2017 as both an IW and Ryde Town Councillor. I lobbied the electoral commission successfully to change the ward from Ryde East back to the ward’s historic names of Appley and Elmfield. This is a part of Ryde that has a strong identity and character that brings rural and urban together, it has a balance with nature that goes back centuries. I was elected to advocate and represent the residents of Appley and Elmfield and make sure they were empowered and had their voices heard.
No Proper Consultation with Ryde/Seaview/Nettlestone residents and purely Landowner/Developer led!
88 houses were approved in 2017 to be built at Hope Road and although local residents opposed this, the community accepted the decision by IW Council. There was no mention of 472 houses and the concept of West Acre Park. The tenant dairy farmer continued milking cows and producing environmentally grass-fed produce. Residents bought the milk and eggs. During Covid19, the developer and landowner put in a planning application for 472 houses and the demolition/closure of the farm. Residents were struggling to survive a world pandemic, local people were dying, and the community was in lock down. Since 2020, the developer and IW Council have made announcements/decisions within holiday periods and about to announce consent in the summer holiday period of 2023. These announcement times are when the community are less likely to react quickly. Ryde Town and Nettlestone and Seaview Parish Councils have vigorously objected to the application but their voices have not been heard.
Proper Process has not been followed by IW Council
There has been 2 planning committee meetings over 3 years since the planning application for the houses was made and a series of attempts to properly bring the application for consideration. I have written thousands of words, raising questions and highlighting mistake after mistake. Residents in my view have a clear case that proper process has not been followed and their lawyers have confirmed this and I think it is a sad day when the council tax payers have to find further money to get to the truth, but that is their right and as their elected representative I have and want to make sure they have every opportunity to get justice.
Only now can a Judge and Court can get to the truth!
I do ask Islanders and Island residents that are concerned to visit the Crowd Funding site and support these brave residents in seeking justice. Only a Judge can decide whether residents have a case and they should be empowered in my view to challenge IW Council.
Cllr Michael Lilley – Ryde Appley and Elmfield