THE company behind controversial plans for an asphalt plant on the banks of the River Medina came under fire at a public meeting tonight (Tuesday).
It was the first time the Isle of Wight public was able to quiz Eurovia Roadstone about plans for the £2.3million facility on a former landfill site at Medina Wharf, off Arctic Road, Cowes, which have sparked a storm of protest from nearby residents concerned about noise, smell and air pollution.
Eurovia Roadstone — part of Vinci Ringway, the preferred bidder for the Isle of Wight Highways PFI project — said the facility would be a modern, low-emission plant to supply the PFI works with specialist asphalt, but residents have branded it a 'monstrosity' that will blight the River Medina.
Around a dozen campaigners battling against the plans, led by protest group Wight Residents against Asphalt Plant (WRAP), staged a demonstration before the meeting at East Cowes Town Hall, waving placards and banners opposing the plans.
Campaigner Tanja Rebel said: "This is a sensitive river habitat and an asphalt plant would be completely unsuitable. It's also an incredibly ugly development."
During the meeting, attended by around 120 people, members of the public quizzed representatives of Eurovia Roadstone about the impact the plant would have on residents and the environment.
Concerns were also raised about lorries travelling to and from the plant along Arctic Road.
David Marsh, director of PDE Consulting, the planning consultant acting on behalf of Eurovia Roadstone, said the plant would not have a significant environmental impact, and further information about air pollution levels would be available within two weeks.
Speaking after the meeting, WRAP spokesperson Julia Hill said her concerns remained.
"I think they were quite dismissive of questions that didn't relate directly to planning issues. People are concerned about the impact this will have on their health and the value of their homes, and Eurovia does not seem to be considering its moral and ethical duty," she said.
A planning application for the plant has been submitted to the Isle of Wight Council, but will not be considered until the government decides whether a formal Environmental Impact Assessment is required.
The application has attracted 392 letters of objection and two letters of support.
See Isle of Wight County Press on Friday, August 10 for more.