This in from Cllr Bob Seely, in his own words. Ed
As of Sunday, 14 Sept, the Isle of Wight Planning Department had received 259 separate online comments, from 284 individuals, to the proposed Blanchard’s Field development in the middle of the village. Three people were in favour, six non-committal and 275 opposed the development. The overwhelming majority of objections came from local residents. A petition with 196 names was also raised, with 193 against the development and three in favour.
Bob Seely, Councillor for Central Wight, said,
“This is people power in action. Residents have highlighted the many reasons why this development should not go ahead; scale, flooding risk, location, etc. It’s the wrong size in the wrong place.”
Communities in the Back of the Wight have recently written to the Council in record numbers. In addition to the 284 who responded to the Blanchard’s development, another 120 petitioners wrote to the Council over the Atherfield Holiday Camp development, including almost every resident with a mile of that location. Almost all were against.
In total, around 400 residents in Central Wight have been involved in the campaigns against the two developments.
Cllr Seely said,
“Four hundred people in Brighstone and Atherfield communities writing to the Planners to oppose two developments shows the massive strength of local feeling.”
In his own objection to the Brighstone development, Cllr Seely asked Council planners,
“to respect both the feelings and the common sense of the people of Brighstone and reject this application. It goes against national and local planning policy. It is not wanted by the community. It is not needed by the community.”
Last week the Parish Council also opposed the development.
Residents echoed the call, and said that the Cheverton family, who owned the field, wanted it to be used for the benefit of villagers, not developers.
Alison Austin, said:
“I understand from many long standing residents who knew John Cheverton that he did not want this land developed. I feel it is an insult to his memory to use his name to support this and the previous planning application in 2013. He would be turning in his grave.
“I am very disappointed that the prospect of development on this field has arisen yet again. The developers don’t seem to be able to understand the word NO. I feel this is about greed not need.”
Don Appleby, head of the Brighstone Village society, said:
“The scale and mix of dwellings of the proposed development cannot be justified. Building a housing estate on Blanchards isn’t needed and would not be in keeping with Brighstone as an historic village, within both a Conservation Area and an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.”
Local resident Graham Fell said:
“This is a private application for planning permission to build a housing estate for profit dressed up as an altruistic gesture for the benefit of Brighstone. In 2013, 94 percent of Brighstone residents rejected an almost identical proposal by Christopher Scott and this year 98 percent of the 260+ who have written to IOW Planning Services have again objected.
“Clearly, Brighstone residents don’t see it as being to their benefit.,” Mr Fell said.
Cllr Seely said that the communities were right to oppose these developments, both of which contradicted Island and national planning policy.
“We have had too much second-rate, thoughtless development – very often poor quality housing. My communities understand the need for development – but at a level and pace that people want, and with developments that add to the Island, not diminish it.”
The Brighstone development will be examined by planners this month. A decision is expected later in the autumn. The second Atherfield application has been withdrawn, although the developer is now appealing against the original refusal. A decision on that is expected in December.
Cllr Seely said,
“Both the Island plan and national planning policy call for smaller scale development, rather than for large housing estates. Both major applications presented to the community have been for large-scale development that will make a lot of money for the owners but detract from quality of life for the rest of us. That isn’t right.
“I very much hope that Planners will now do the right thing and listen to the opinions of my residents.”
Image: © Google Streetview