Leeson Road information.

We understand the effect the current closure of Leeson Road is having on residents and businesses, particularly those in the Ventnor area.

Both Island Roads and the Isle of Wight Council are keen to keep the local community fully informed about what is being done in respect of managing this important strategic route.

As part of that aim, we have created this webpage on which we will share relevant updates on Leeson Road. This page also contains the answers to some of the questions already raised.

In addition to this page, we will, of course, continue to liaise with the local community and its elected members. A further public meeting in the town will also be arranged in the near future.

From the outset, we would like to make the following points absolutely clear:

It remains the intention of Island Roads and the Isle of Wight Council to re-open Leeson Road as soon as it safe to do so.

Before making any decisions, we need additional, reliable, data to help us understand both the ongoing geological movement in the area and also, the potential risk of further failures.

While we cannot at this stage state a timescale for the re-opening, we will ensure that the public is regularly updated with all the information relevant to this important, and difficult, decision.

Please do check back here for updates. If you have any queries relating to Leeson Road then by all means email coastal.recovery@iow.gov.uk

Update No 5 – May 24 2024

The Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads have been working with Southern Water to agree a plan around important work to maintain the sewer at Newport Road (the Graben) in Ventnor, which was discussed at last week’s public meeting.

The feeling of the meeting was that it was better for Southern Water to undertake the required work as soon as possible rather than risk the situation becoming worse meaning more lengthy emergency repair works may be required later in the year, possibly at the height of the tourism season.

We have therefore agreed that Southern Water should undertake this work between June 17 and June 28. Because deep excavations are required, a 24-hour road closure will be necessary during this period.

We have worked with Southern Water to design a traffic management plan and diversion routes that will ensure the safe movement of traffic.

June 17 is the soonest practical start date for the work given the steps needed in advance of the road closure. These include advertising and implementing the various road orders and giving residents enough required notice of the diversion. The network also has to be clear, where possible, of other works that may affect the diversion route.

An Island Roads spokesperson said: “We realise that this work will inevitably cause disruption, particularly while Leeson Road remains closed.

“However the feeling of the recent public meeting in Ventnor was clear that Southern Water are able to undertake the work as soon as possible ahead of the main holiday season and before the ongoing movement at the Graben causes further major damage to infrastructure which would take far longer to remedy.”

Meanwhile the council is currently commissioning safety work to enable Gills Cliff Road to be re-opened as soon as possible. Unfortunately, though this work is being done as a priority, it will not be possible to re-open Gills Cliff Road prior to the start of the Graben work.

The council is currently engaged in legal action to secure repairs to the retaining wall adjacent to Bath Road which is delaying the ability to reopen this route in the town.

The spokesperson added: “The current volume of road users on Ocean View Road is not expected to change as a result of the Newport Road closure, as this is already the favoured route people take into the town.”


Update No 4 – May 10 2024.

The road closure in place for safety reasons following the major landslide off Leeson Road at Bonchurch has been shortened.

The move, agreed by the Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads, has seen the car park at the far end of Smugglers Haven re-opened and the barriers moved enough to allow walkers access to Nansen Hill and onto the downs.

The car park is not in an area geological experts believe may be at risk of movement.

However, the road closure remains in effect from the signs lower down Leeson Road at the junction with Bonchurch Shute.

This will remain shut until the necessary ground investigations have been completed. The data from these investigation will be considered, along with the data from the recently installed monitoring equipment, to reach a decision on the safety implications of re-opening the road.


Update No 3 – May 9 2024.

The next Ventnor residents’ meeting hosted by the Isle of Wight Council will take place on Tuesday 14 May in St Catherine’s Church, from 5pm to 6.30pm.

The meeting will include an update on the reopening of Ventnor Eastern Esplanade later this month and next steps for Leeson Road following the installation of specialist monitoring equipment.

The agenda also includes an update on the Environment Agency’s Ventnor coastal programme as well as an opportunity for residents to ask questions.

**NOW SOLD OUT (updated 10.5.24)**

The meeting will be by ticket only to contain numbers within the fire safety limits of the venue.

To obtain a mobile eTicket, please click here.

Residents can if they wish submit questions in advance by emailing: coastal.recovery@iow.gov.uk


Update No 2 – April 24 2024.

An array of specialist hi-tech equipment that will monitor any ongoing movement in and around Leeson Road in Ventnor has now been installed.

Island Roads staff have been working with site investigation experts SOCOTEC to install monitoring equipment that will measure and record lateral and rotational ground movement.

The data gathered will help Island Roads and the Isle of Wight Council make informed decisions about the future of Leeson Road.

The array comprises three extensometers to measure and record changes to visible cracking and 22 tiltmeters recording rotational ground movement. This will shortly be complemented with three global navigation satellite sensors providing remote monitoring of vertical and horizontal land movement.

The council will be addressing the current situation at Leeson Road as well as other access issues currently affecting the town, at a further public meeting in the town next month. More details will be announced shortly.


Update No 1 – April 11  2024.

The installation of specialist equipment to monitor any movement around Leeson Road is due to begin on Monday.

Data from nearly 30 pieces of equipment will enable the Isle of Wight Council and Island Roads to make informed decisions on the future of the strategic route between Shanklin and Ventnor. The equipment will measure any vertical and horizontal movement and also monitor any widening of existing cracks.

The council and Island Roads have also created a new webpage to highlight latest information on Leeson Road and other access issues affecting Ventnor given ongoing issues at locations such as Newport Road and Gills Cliff Road.

The upper section of Leeson Road has remained closed since a catastrophic landslip in December 2023 when 16 hectares – some 14million cubic metres of land – was displaced in what was one of the largest landslides recorded on the South Coast of England.

Leeson Road passes close to the back of the landslip and expert advice has recommended the road remains closed until more is known about the risk of further major movement. This is particularly so given that the heavy rainfall that was identified as a cause of the original landslip has persisted.

Subject to no further movement, favourable weather and the necessary permissions being given to install the equipment on private land, preparatory work will be undertaken this week followed by the installation of the equipment itself in the week commencing April 15.

The type and number of equipment and the locations at which it will be placed has been decided in consultation with industry experts. The array comprises three extensometers to measure and record changes to visible cracking, 22 tiltmeters recording lateral ground movement, three global navigation satellite sensors providing remote monitoring of vertical and horizontal land movement.

For more information on this monitoring please use the following link https://islandroads.com/wp-content/uploads/2024/04/Leeson-Road-FAQs.pdf