The leader of the Isle of Wight Council has agreed with Conservative Isle of Wight MP Robert Seely that he wants to reduce the number of houses planned for the Island.
Mr Seely has been a vocal critic of the Island Plan, based on government housing targets, which includes plans to build almost 10,000 homes over the next 15 years.
At a public meeting to discuss the Crossways development in East Cowes on Saturday, Mr Seely said he was ‘disappointed the council were unwilling to talk to him about the housing crisis they are facing.’
Change the housing figures
Speaking at the council’s corporate scrutiny meeting last night (Tuesday), Cllr David Stewart said he had spoken to the MP and they had an ‘agreed view they want to change the housing figures.’
“The Island does have a need for housing. We have over 2,500 people on the council’s housing waiting list.
“My view is any challenge we put to government must have evidence, but we have to be careful how we approach this.”
He said the council must produce evidence and called on all councillors to help the authority build its case.
Definition of an Islander
Addressing concerns from councillors that the new homes would not be built for Islanders, Cllr Stewart said he did not know the definition of Islander.
“I am sure if there is one, I wouldn’t qualify as a Caulkhead.
“What we are saying is there are people on the Island who need housing, but we need a reality check.
“If we stick to the mantra of ‘the right houses for the right people,’ we will serve our community.”
340 homes built each year
The meeting heard fewer than 340 homes were built on the Island each year, for the last five years, against a target of 541 homes.
In that time, the council also failed to build any affordable housing — a key element of the Island Plan.
Cllr Stewart said:
“We have set targets but we are not delivering.”