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Landslip-Hit Leeson Road Residents Bemoan 'Prisoner' Status

(c) IW Council

Residents of a landslip-hit Isle of Wight road feel they have become “prisoners” due to a lack of public transport.

No Southern Vectis buses are running along the length of Leeson Road, which connects Ventnor and Shanklin, after December’s major landslide forced the closure of the road for safety reasons.

A small minibus service, provided by Ventnor Town Council, runs on Tuesday and Friday mornings only.

Residents who rely on public transport say they have become isolated, and Ventnor Town Council is considering adding more services to support them.

Concerns were raised at a town council meeting on Tuesday, where one resident — who was representing older people and Leeson Road residents who don’t drive  — said they are “prisoners up there.”

He said:

“It is really unfair, the road has just been left. The residents are isolated and desperate for transport.”

He said one has been stocking up on food for a fortnight, hoping it will last, because the added price of a taxi means it is too expensive to shop weekly.

For those who don’t drive, it was said to be continually difficult to arrange doctor’s appointments on the few days the bus is running.

Cllr Steve Milford has been leading negotiations to see if the 31 service — operated by Tops Taxis on behalf of Ventnor Town Council for more than a decade — can be extended to more days or for longer hours.

He said the Isle of Wight Council has offered a grant of between £10,000 and £15,000 to provide services.

Councillors encouraged residents to use the service, to show demand for the bus is there.

The town council is hoping for more answers about the future of Leeson Road from the Isle of Wight Council at a meeting next week (Thursday, February 29).

It will be held at St Catherine’s Church and multiple agencies will provide updates on local projects.

Cllr Steph Toogood asked if signs at the top of Shanklin High Street can be changed in time for the tourist season, to say Ventnor is still open for business.

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