A £200 million regeneration programme designed to create jobs, provide more affordable homes, reduce poverty and breathe new life into some of the Island’s most deprived areas, has been approved by councillors.
‘Inspiration Island’ sets out how the Isle of Wight Council will lead the regeneration agenda over the next decade to ensure a sustainable economic future for the Island.
It includes ambitious proposals to build 1,000 affordable homes by 2025, increase average pay to £600 per week by 2027 and close the poverty gap between our most affluent and deprived areas by 20 per cent by 2030.
IWC’s £30m cash injection unlocks £150m investment
In total, the strategy approved by Cabinet last week represents a near £30 million capital cash injection by the council into regeneration schemes touching every corner of the Island.
This in turn will unlock over £150 million of other public and private sector investment to drive the programme forward.
Whittle: A place to inspire
Councillor Wayne Whittle, Cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said “every penny” would be targeted towards maximising future opportunity and putting right the things that were not working for Islanders. He said,
“Our ambitious regeneration strategy sets out where we are today and the actions and activities we believe will enable the vision for the future as a place to inspire to be realised.
“Regeneration is about creating the environment within which people can live the best quality of life they can.”
Whittle: The “regeneration jigsaw”
The 2019-2030 strategy not only sets out the council’s ambition to grow and improve the Island’s wealth, but also boost education standards, skills and the availability of jobs.
Referring to the “regeneration jigsaw”, Councillor Whittle said:
“Businesses need skilled workers, people need good homes and schools to make choices for themselves and their families, communities need a great environment and a vibrant culture to value the towns and villages in which they live.
“Achieving more by linking these issues and, more importantly, actions to address them, is what a good regeneration strategy is all about.”
Strategy shaped by Islanders’ feedback
The strategy — which will be regularly reviewed and updated — has been shaped by a series of workshops and conferences over the past 18 months, as well as an online ‘Wight We Want’ survey which saw nearly 2,000 people voice their priorities.
These included better and more affordable transport links (53 per cent), better paid jobs (46 per cent), better health care facilities (33 per cent) and better protection of the natural environment (32 per cent).
The document takes each area of the Island and details priority areas identified by residents, the local housing need, infrastructure imperatives and any known regeneration proposals.
Whittle: “About more than bricks and mortar”
However, Councillor Whittle added:
“True regeneration is about more than bricks and mortar, it is about measurable social and environmental improvement in people and place.
“It is a focal point for a range of other plans and strategies, from both within and outside the council.”
To read the strategy in full, visit the Website.