Controversial plans to build a house next to a nature reserve are being recommended for approval by planning officers.
The homeowner, Neil Hilson, was branded a ‘garden grabber’ by neighbours, who claimed he had no right to the land.
Next to nature reserve
A planning application was lodged with the Isle of Wight Council at the beginning of the year, for a two bedroom split-level house on Blythe Way, next to the Batts Copse and Sibden Hill nature reserve in Shanklin.
The plans have attracted more than 70 comments from residents and neighbours. Many claim the land was gifted to the town to be used by the public and should not be built on.
Land used as garden
A certificate of lawfulness was granted to Mr Hilson six years ago. He successfully demonstrated the land had been used by him as a garden for more than 12 years, after he had fenced it off and claimed it as his own.
Mr Hilson is now the legal owner of the land and was granted permission to use it as a domestic garden.
Designated as nature reserve
Commenting on the plans, Michael Lyons, from Havenstreet, said:
“This area of land is designated on the new draft Island Plan as a local nature reserve. Has the status of this land changed since the plan was issued?”
Valerie Wheeler, from Ryde, said:
“It beggars belief land that is part of a nature reserve can be fenced off with the view to obtaining permission to build. The land is not and never should be for residential development, the council should protect the reserve and the wildlife therein.”
Previous application rejected
Last March, an application for a four bedroom house on the land, also submitted by Mr Hilson, was turned down by the planning committee, on the grounds the house was too large and would result in over development.
Shanklin Town Council has not commented on the plans as ten councillors declared an interest, in that they know Mr Hilson, a former town councillor.
The plans will go before the Isle of Wight Council’s planning committee next Tuesday, at 4pm.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed
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