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It's Official! Ventnor's Eastern Esplanade Has Reopened

Eighteen months after violent storms caused a 35-metre section of Ventnor's Eastern Esplanade to collapse into the sea, people are now enjoying their first strolls along the newly reopened promenade.

The safety barriers which have secured the site since November 2022 were taken down this afternoon, restoring an important coastal route between Ventnor and Bonchurch, popular with both walkers and cyclists alike.

It marked the end of a successful 12 month project which has seen the Isle of Wight Council invest £4.8 million of government funding into new sea defences, protecting homes and businesses for years to come.

Natasha Dix, the council's strategic director for environment and planning, said:

"As a local resident, raised in Ventnor, I know just how important this coastal route is to the local community and particularly to businesses in the area.

"I visited the site shortly after we were forced to close it for public safety and was shocked at the extent of the damage.

"Our early drone footage revealed a horror show of rusting piles and crumbling concreate requiring us to construct a whole new sea wall.

"It was a huge job made all the more challenging by the exposed nature of the site and the relentless storms which battered the Island."

The works which began in May last year involved piling more than 150 'king posts' into the foreshore, which were then backfilled and capped with concrete to encapsulate the rusting sheet piles.

Cllr Steph Toogood, deputy mayor, said:

"Ventnor Town Council is delighted that the valuable coastal link (revetment) between Ventnor and Bonchurch is now open.

"The town appreciate the planning and teamwork that will enable tourists and locals, young and old especially with their canine friends to enjoy this flat coastal walk.

"The town council is grateful to have this popular route open for the busy tourist season."

The project has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 'Integration and Collaborative Working' category in this year's Constructing Excellence SECBE Awards 2024.

It is also eligible for a People's Choice Award which is decided by a public vote.

Contactors have a few small remaining tasks to complete next week before they start removing their site cabins and equipment.

This will take around five days and require some lorry movements within the Eastern Esplanade car park.

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