By Richard Berry, Programme Manager, Regeneration Delivery
Reniera came to see me the other day, and suggested I contribute to the regeneration blog to let everyone know what’s going on with the Ryde Nicholson Road development. Well, here goes with my first attempt at blogging, no doubt I will get some interesting feedback.
First of all a bit of background. When I’m talking about Nicholson Road I mean the land right next to the existing Ryde Business Park. This land is owned by the council and is bordered by the Business Park to the north, Great Preston Road to the east, Smallbrook Lane to the south and the railway line to the west. It has been marked out in the Island Plan as a place to create new jobs and businesses since at least 2012, but unfortunately no commercial development has come forward yet. One of the reasons has been because there is no infrastructure on the land, such as roads, drains and utilities.
Ever since I joined the regeneration team in January a major part of my work has been to move things forward at Nicholson Road, so we can get those jobs and businesses on the land. Before I began the team had already undertaken an initial feasibility study and written an outline business case that showed that the scheme could work.
Following on from that previous work, we then set-out to get the right team together so council could make what is known as a ‘hybrid planning application’. In this case our hybrid application means one that seeks both outline consent for the whole site and also detailed consent for the infrastructure. This can be a very effective way to move projects forward quickly.
Peter Brett Associates along with architects RCKa were appointed to take on this work and we are now working with them on the development of the planning application and the documentation that will be needed. Surveys are being done, or will be done soon, and these include ecology screening, ground conditions, highways junctions and transportation, and others as required.
Earlier this year we held consultation sessions with groups in Ryde to get feedback from the community on the designs from the feasibility study. There is good community support for new employment space to come forward but there are also reservations about the size and how the development will sit within the landscape. This is important information for us, and we have used this feedback to influence the plans that are now being drawn up.
One significant change to the plans driven directly by local consultation was to do with the residential element in the scheme. People were clear that they preferred less new housing at Nicholson Road. So the council has decided to reduce the housing on the site. This means we will pay up front with capital funding so that the infrastructure can be built, rather than building more houses on part of the site to pay for it.
Talking of which, I’ll be out with the team in Ryde again this week attending the Ryde East ward meeting at St John’s Church on Thursday evening (Thursday 4th October 2018). This will be followed by a drop in session on the Business Park on Friday lunchtime (Friday 5th October 2018) where we will be talking to local businesses about our plans.
My aim is to have the planning application ready for submission early in the New Year. Assuming my blogging is up to standard I guess you might be hearing more from me in the future.