At the first Full Council Meeting on Wednesday (15th July 2020), since Covid19 lockdown, the Island Independent Group have put forward a motion calling for the Isle of Wight Council to urgently review the Island Plan and call a moratorium for 12 months on all large scale housing developments.
The Motion states:
- That this Council commission a root and branch review of the Island Plan in light of revision required post-Covid19 as the Island Plan still is draft, is not fit for purpose. Any such review should be subject to full public consultation.
- That this Council implements a 12 month moratorium on the processing of any Planning Applications in excess of 20 units to allow for the above review to be adopted into policy and to have taken effect.
This motion is in the context of a number of proposed large housing developments publicly declaring their pending submission to the Isle of Wight Council planning authority, including 475 houses on Westridge Farm, 50 houses in Nettlestone and Seaview (Puckpool Hill) and 82 “Extra Care” units on the former Sandham Middle School site.
Lilley: Human rights are being infringed
Cllr Michael Lilley, Ward Member for Ryde East states:
“Covid-19 pandemic has been the most traumatic national event since the Second World War and the community has had to face the totally new experience of social isolation, social distancing, and lockdown. Many have been furloughed from their jobs and have no idea what the future will bring.
“Many, especially the elderly and those with health issues, have shielded and are only now taking the steps back into the community. People are traumatised and simply exhausted.
“How in these circumstances can residents engage in any meaningful consultation, communicate their concerns and objections, and get their voice heard in regard to large scale developments next to where they live?
“Many are not online and cannot go to meetings collectively and have difficulty accessing support. The large developers have access to all the expertise they need to argue their case online and in the media fully, residents do not, and are facing poverty in the current crisis.
“Their human rights under the 1998 Human Rights Act are being infringed. They are being totally disadvantaged. We need a review and moratorium now!”
Andre: A totally new, fresh approach to development needed
Cllr Debbie Andre, Leader of the Island Independent Group added:
“There are many sites around the Island that have had planning applications approved and yet have lain dormant, sometimes for many years, falling into disrepair whilst development partners are sought.
“Despite the Isle of Wight Council setting up its own stand-alone building company, development partners from the private sector are still being sought, but without success.
“Even before the pandemic struck, a change in policy was needed, but now, more so than ever, the economic climate of the Island, post Covid-19, demands a totally new, fresh approach to development both in the public and private sectors, backed up by a change in Government policy and the way in which the National Planning Policy Framework 2018 is applied.
“We should be maximising the opportunities that achieving Biosphere status could bring to the Island, especially in light of the recommendations of the Glover report giving greater influence to the AONB which accounts for approximately half of the land surface of the Island and is detailed in the IOW AONB Management Plan 2019 – 2024, seeking to preserve the character and heritage of our Island. I fully support this motion as a wake up call both to us as a Local Authority and the Government in determining a better way forward to rebuild our communities from the ground up.”
News shared by Debbie Andre and Michael Lilley, in their own words. Ed