Letter: Branstone Farm Development – A Lost Opportunity for Isle of Wight Biosphere

This reader believes the Branstone Farm development is a “20th Century rehash”, with a lack of forward thinking. Read how they think it have been developed

Artist impression of Branstone Farm development

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This from Angela Hewitt, who runs Naturezones, Isle of Wight. Ed

This is a sad day for the Isle of Wight and its Unesco Biosphere designation.

Lauded as the development that will show the world how we can live up to this special accolade does in fact shows the world that we are not up to the job.

Approved on 5th February the Branstone Farm development is, in fact, a 20th century rehash.

Our council thinks being in a Biosphere means it’s all about birds, bees, bats, butterflies and hedgerows. In fact, I have to inform them in the 21st century it is a million things more than that. Without the million things more than that, you can forget about the birds, bees, bats, butterflies and “hedgerows” because they will become extinct.

Objections from 21st century thinkers
All the public objections, which on reading were very sensible and well thought out ones – by 21st century thinkers – were ignored. This was a chance to show the world that the Island was going to get to the root of the problem that being CO2 emissions and global warming. But it doesn’t. This omission is a catastrophic failure.

Let’s take affordable housing. For 20th century thinker it’s a cheap house built on the cheap to maintain a good profit. For 21st century thinkers an affordable house is one that is cheap to run – a long term investment. The term affordable home needs to be redefined and it needs to be part of a developer’s gift to society (Meaning they should reduce their profit margins – but still make a profit – they should not be getting rich on poverty).

What it should be
An affordable home would…

  1. Be fully insulated
  2. Get its energy from, solar/ground source or air source, even making a surplus when connected to the grid
  3. Be able to capture water and recycle waste water
  4. Have its own compost bin
  5. An area to grow food
  6. Green roofs
  7. Good ventilation
  8. Electric car charger point
  9. Hedge dividers not fences

The Site

  1. Landscaping of trees throughout the site, not just around it
  2. Solar powered street lighting with low led lights
  3. Pavements that absorb water and get released into an aquifer or “Rain Garden”
  4. Reed bed as a natural sewage treatment system and then being put back into the soil
  5. Renewable energy microgrid thus turning each household into an energy provider

Don’t throw it away
This should be council policy for all new house builds and backdated five years.

The world is saying we have to act now. So, it’s time to eradicate linear thinking and start to think laterally and creatively – not when it is too late.

Dear Isle of Wight Council, Live up to this Biosphere designation – DON’T THROW IT AWAY.

Monday, 8th February, 2021 9:19am


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Filed under: Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Letter to the Editor

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3 Comments on "Letter: Branstone Farm Development – A Lost Opportunity for Isle of Wight Biosphere"

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Now that’s what I call sustainable thinking! Poorly insulated housing is one of the biggest problems in our race to net zero carbon emissions. We’ve known this for many years. Planning permission should ONLY be granted for new-builds that meet net zero criteria. This should be enshrined in law.


Should that be your #ThingsThoughtful snippet of wisdom:

The 21st Century needs more net zero heroes

Eagle eye
Homes England are funding the Branstone Farm development as well as West Acre in Ryde. A friend sent a Freedom of Information request asking how many developments on the island were Homes England involved in. This request was refused on the grounds of the cost in obtaining this information. As the cost is covered by tax payers I think we have a right to know what our… Read more »