Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Robert Seely has launched a petition against the government’s target of 9,000+ news homes being built on the Island over the next 15 years.
He is also hoping to gather the views of Islanders through a consultation on the draft Island Plan, which the Isle of Wight council have just completed their extended consultation on.
Seely: Would very much like to hear what constituents think
The MP, who says he opposes “the plan in its present form”, said,
“This is an important document that really sets out the future for the Island and I would very much like to hear what my constituents think about it.
“The plan has some good proposals in it but the issue of housing numbers is crucial and I have several concerns, not least that this housing would be unaffordable for Islanders.
“We need affordable homes for people who live here, not large-scale developments for the south east housing market.”
Seely: Working with “strong council team”
He went on to say,
“I will be working with our strong Council team to see if we can present to Government a different approach to house-building that makes sure that we build housing for Islanders and also do so in more modest numbers that protects our quality of life and visitor economy.
“The Government target is simply undeliverable due to the lack of Island building capacity. We do not have the infrastructure to cope with such an increase. There is also no doubt, in my view, that large-scale housebuilding will damage our landscape, quality of life and the Island’s tourism and visitor economy.
“Finally, by accepting targets we cannot fulfil, the council leaves itself vulnerable to developers to force Greenfield development.”
The MP said he’d continue talking to the Isle of Wight council, but wants to hear Islanders’ views directly through his consultation.
Stewart: Over 2,000 people on IW housing register
Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, says he welcomes the consultation being carried out by the MP
He described it as “a valuable extra source of opinion and feedback” to sit alongside the extended consultation the council has just run.
Cllr Stewart said,
“It is vital we have a valid and broad representation of local views to present to the government – and that our new Island Planning Strategy accurately reflects all the key issues including housing need, homelessness, affordability, suitability of location, market forces etc.
“We have more than 2,000 people on our housing register and nearly 200 families in temporary accommodation at any one time; we do need to find a sustainable way of supporting these members of our community into their own homes.
“There is clearly a need for the right type and number of homes in the right places, for Islanders.”
Stewart: “Need to find innovative approaches”
“The economic challenges of building homes for rent on the Island are clear to us and we need to collectively find new and innovative approaches to overcoming this key issue.
“We will be working closely with the MP and other key stakeholders to achieve what is right for this Island of ours – which naturally we all wish to see protected while meeting the future needs of our population.”
Cllr Stewart finished by saying,
“We are now at the stage of considering feedback on the strategy – and clearly it is vital that our submission to government is strongly evidence-based.
“As we are an Island, the issue of future housing numbers is a particularly sensitive subject, and we are dealing with this matter and the related discussions with government as an absolute priority.”