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November News from Cllr Ian Ward

I frequently get complaints from residents who feel intimidated by individuals and groups of mainly men and youths hanging around the beach and town centre. I recently spoke with a Community Safety Officer and a Youth Officer to discuss exactly this problem we have in Sandown. It is recognised that we do have a problem. I fully understand that residents feel intimidated. The individuals we see on local benches etc are generally residents of certain HMO's. They are placed in HMOs by the IW Council Social Services Dept. So, the Community Safety and Youth Officers are taking this up with Social Services.

The police are keeping an eye on the area, and the IW Council licensing officers are testing shops and supermarkets to see if they are selling alcohol to underage drinkers or known alcoholics. I asked for Sandown's Alcohol-Free Zones to be reinstated and enforced so the police will have grounds to act. I have attached a map of the Alcohol-Free Zones, which, I was told is still legally in place and covers most of Sandown from the station to the coast, so I will take this up with our local police officers. Hopefully this explains what action is being taken.

With the substantial change in tourism throughout the country seaside towns have suffered badly. As a town that was heavily dependent upon traditional tourism, we have seen many empty hotels and boarding houses turned into HMOs. Sadly, this change in accommodation discourages
commercial investment, so it is extremely difficulty to regenerate the town without substantial investment. Sandown and the Bay Area in general needs a unique tourist attraction that will bring tourists to the Island and the Bay in particular. We must look to the future because current attractions have not been able to activate regeneration, so we must look at every new opportunity.

The old Sandham School site has been in limbo for several years because of complications about its ownership. The site formally belonged to the Dept for Education, but it took a couple of years to get them to hand the site over to the IW Council. When it was marketed it did not attract any bids near its worth. Just recently a mainland bidder has offered a substantial amount so it will probably be sold to them if agreement is achieved. I have attached a draft outline plan that I’m sure will be of interest to our residents.

However, any actual design must have Planning approval and residents will have the opportunity to comment upon the proposals.

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