Destruction of ancient farmland and ecological habitat Westridge Farm by West Acre Park development 2021

The below statement outlines my hard decision recently to stand down as a member of IWC Planning Committee which I believe is self-explanatory. I wish to emphasise I have to put the the interests of my Ryde Appley and Elmfield Ward first and the continuation of IW Council’s none issue of consent is damaging to all of those concerned and perpetuates distress to everyone. Recent evidence I have seen seems to further suggest that only by seeking Judicial Review and presenting all the evidence to the Court will enable the voices of residents to be heard and the facts openly in the public domain. Until this happens I do not believe anyone can move forward.

Save Westridge Farm Campaign (

29th August 2022

To Whom It May Concern at IW Council

Resignation from Planning Committee

I am writing to formally resign as a member of the Planning Committee from the date as above.

I am very sad that I feel I have no other course of action than to resign as I feel due to a series of events/issues have made my position on the planning committee untenable.

I stood down as Chair of Planning Committee in May 2022, as I felt that I could not continue to wholeheartedly support my residents who duly elected me to represent Ryde Appley and Elmfield and carry out the important role of Chair. I remained on the Committee as nominated by the Alliance group which I am a member. After further consideration and reflection, I now feel that even being a member of the planning committee compromises my ability to continue to speak out in an open and transparent way against the West Acre Park planning application and decision. It is untenable to continue to be part of committee that upholds a decision which my residents and I believe was flawed.

This has come to ahead with the revelation there is a possible connection of how some planning committee members voted against the call-in vote to bring back the WAP application to committee, and the draft Island plan. There is implication that some members stood down, were changed, and influenced to vote against the call-in by Cllr Jarman on the basis that there would be consideration of removing sites in Bembridge listed in the draft plan as identified potential sites. At a recent briefing on the Island Plan on the 10th August, there seems to be further evidence on this implication by members of Corporate Scrutiny including members of the Planning Committee, of their intention to recommend removal of the Bembridge sites from the plan. I have asked for a full investigation into this matter. I will be voicing my objections at Corporate Scrutiny on the 6th September meeting.

It is also over 12 months since the decision on the 29th July 2021 to approve West Acre Park was made and still in September 2022, no consent has been issued. Until consent has been granted my residents who intend to challenge the 29th July 2021 decision through Judicial Review, cannot start action. I feel it is in the interest of IW Council and the developer to prolong the consent being issued so they can grind down the objectors. I feel within my opinion that this is not fair play and unethical and immoral although it maybe legal. My view has always been that there are legitimate objections/challenges to the process of the WAP decision that need to be raised in court/law. My residents have the right to have these answered through proper legal process.

I feel it is disrespectful to my planning committee colleagues and planning/legal staff to continue as a member of the planning committee if I harbour the above concerns,distrust and doubts.

I also feel I cannot fully speak in an open and transparent way in supporting my residents through the Judicial Review against IW Council/LPA and remain as a member of the Planning Committee. I believe that until there is a Judicial Review and IW Council learns some serious lessons from this very (in my view) contentious decision and there is an investigation into the Bembridge/Island Plan connection to the last WAP call-in, it is wrong and untenable for me to remain on IWC planning committee.

Yours respectfully             

Cllr Michael Lilley – Ryde Appley and Elmfield

Resigning: Previous head of planning committee says concerns, distrust and doubts about controversial planning decisions means he’s now standing down from committee (

Isle of Wight houses plan leads to councillor’s resignation | Isle of Wight County Press

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