Lack of affordable housing has ‘disadvantaged Island families’ says Cabinet member

Cllr Abraham said it had led many Islanders, particularly young people, to move away to places where wages and house affordability is better matched

Trees outside County Hall

With more than 2,100 people on the housing register, the Isle of Wight Council has approved a strategy which should address some of the challenges the Island faces.

The strategy, which will run until 2025, was approved at a meeting of council’s cabinet, as the stark reality of the Island’s housing needs was laid bare.

Mosdell: We have to get it right
Cllr Clare Mosdell, cabinet member for adult social care, public health and housing needs, quoted Chinese philosopher, Confucius, as saying, ‘the strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home,’ to emphasise the UK was ‘currently depleted’ and experiencing a housing crisis, and so was the Island.

She said:

“This strategy is one of the most important this administration has delivered to date and we have to get it right.”

337 people in highest band
At the end of August, 2,120 people were on the housing register — which was said to be the lowest figure in the last five months. Although 337 of those people were classified in the two highest bands, meaning they are at least two bedrooms short and/or have severe medical and welfare issues.

At the moment, 193 households are living in temporary accommodation with 36 living in bed and breakfasts. 

Between April and August
In August, 21 households presented themselves to the council and were accepted as being homeless and in priority need.

Between April 1 and the end of August, the council’s housing needs service was able to prevent 128 people from becoming homeless.

Mosdell: A significant and sustained unmet housing need
Cllr Mosdell said:

“The Isle of Wight has experienced a significant and sustained unmet housing need.

“It is often heartbreaking and a massive frustration that there is not an easy or timely response we can give.

“Every town and village has to have plans to build new houses and bring existing buildings into housing use so we can maximise all brownfield opportunities.”

The outcomes of the new housing strategy, the last being adopted in 2012, will help support housing services and partners on the Island to increase choices for Island families while meeting specific needs of older and disabled residents, as well as tackling homelessness and building more affordable homes.

Abraham: A quarter of Island households struggle to accommodate themselves
Cllr Barry Abraham, cabinet member for planning and housing, said not enough affordable homes had been built over the last ten years.

He said:

“Now a quarter of Island households struggle to accommodate themselves in the current housing market and need a safe, warm, affordable home for their wellbeing both now and in the future.”

A housing needs survey in 2018 identified 222 new affordable houses needed to be but each year but Cllr Abraham said ‘few, if any had been built’.

Abraham: Lack of affordable housing has disadvantaged families
He said:

“This lack of affordable housing has disadvantaged Island families and led many others, particularly young people, to move away to places where wages and house affordability is better matched.”

Island families only able to afford 60 per cent of market rent
Despite the government recognising affordability levels as paying only 80 per cent of the market rent, affordability levels on the Island are much lower with a large number of families being able to afford 60 per cent of the market rent.

In the strategy, the Isle of Wight Council commits to intervening in the housing market, with its own housing company, in partnership with other bodies, to deliver the affordable, social housing needs but also expresses the need to bring existing buildings into housing use through any means the council can.

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

Image: © Isle of Wight Council

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10 Comments on "Lack of affordable housing has ‘disadvantaged Island families’ says Cabinet member"

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So why as a Council have you not been building houses islanders on low island wages can genuinely afford?


Because councils aren’t allowed to build council houses any more and have limited power to change this..although it’s certainly possible.
Unfortunately a tory council will not do this.
I cannot see any other solution to the housing crisis. Developers will only build for profit and do everything they can to avoid paying for affordable housing.
Supported by our government of course.
Jenrick’s phone conversations etc


The Tory’s have had their day. The Country can no longer afford their selfish, self interest, antics.

Steve Goodman

Some UK councils are capable of doing the right thing economically and environmentally; remember the RIBA Stirling Prize winner last year?

York council certainly saw what Norwich did, and others are apparently paying attention and preparing to act responsibly.

@ horace. No, that is not correct. The rules were changed in 2019 when borrowing caps were lifted. However the right to buy legislation still exists and that is one reason why there is a shortage of public owned housing. The whole system is completely bonkers and until a sensible strategy for housing is developed then nothing will change any time soon. Who is responsible for this?… Read more »

The council could start by grabbing long term empty properties via compulsory purchase instead of fritting away money (FB6) on business investments on the mainland!


You all seem to have overlooked housing associations which are non-profit making and endeavour to help by building low-cost housing for rent or for sale. However, they are limited by two factors (a) sites, and (b) available funds to cover the cost of development. There are several associations operating on the Isle of Wight.


Actually, the article is ‘begging up’ Cllr Mosdell and the Council, who have both spectacularly failed our island on numerous fronts over recent years.


Bigging up

Septua – There are 3 main players on the Island that have capacity to build new homes, Sovereign, Southern and Vectis Housing. All of these have had grants to build Social Housing stopped about 7 or 8 years ago by Govt, so can not afford to build Social Housing. They have also had the rental income reduced by Govt by 1% every year, for at least the… Read more »