Over the past three years the Isle of Wight has only achieved 54 per cent of its housebuilding target — leaving it vulnerable to unwanted development.
Its poor record, which left it close to the bottom of the national table, means there is a presumption of approval to applications for schemes within the National Planning Policy Framework.
Only 978 were delivered
Between 2017 and 2020, 1,823 homes should have been built to meet government-set targets but only 978 were delivered.
Across the Solent, Southampton achieved 129 per cent against its target but Portsmouth only reached 80 per cent.
17 areas worse than Island
Only 17 areas in the country had worse housing levels than the Island, all falling below the thresholds which means their planning authorities are subject to the strongest sanctions.
Planning policies the council use for the delivery of new homes can now be viewed as out of date when determining the applications. The planning authority may, in some cases, have to rely on national ones instead.
Due to the presumption, this argument is used by planning agents when stating why their schemes should be approved.
Significant and demonstrable harm must outweigh benefits
It does not automatically mean, however, the application will be approved, but that it should only be rejected if significant and demonstrable harm would outweigh the benefits.
The council is under further sanctions because it cannot demonstrate the number of homes permitted and expected to be built in a five year period — despite the number of already-approved developments.
Approved but not yet built
Speaking at the March meeting of the planning committee, Cllr Richard Hollis listed developments including Harcourt Sands, Pennyfeathers and Rosemary Vineyard in Ryde, and Place Road in Cowes, all with planning permission, some yet to be built.
He said adding up the developments, he did not believe that figure failed governments targets.
Recent court cases
An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said recent court cases have helped the planning authority consider how the presumption is applied to applications.
While policies may be out of date they potentially remain relevant and should be considered when passing judgement.
Continue with Island Plan Core Strategy
They said the council will continue the Island Plan Core Strategy while the next-generation Island Planning Strategy (IPS) is being finalised.
The spokesperson said,
“The IPS provides the opportunity to ‘reset’ our approach towards providing new homes on the Island.”
To help build the next IPS, people have been asked to identify brownfield, or previously developed land, that could be potential development sites.
This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may have been made by OnTheWight. Ed