Isle of Wight Councillor for Bembridge, Joe Robertson, has called for a reduction in future housing numbers.
The Isle of Wight Council’s draft Island Plan Strategy is currently out for public consultation and Bembridge parish councillors and residents have been combing through the plan which allocates sites for 193 new homes, mostly in fields by Mill Road and Steyne Road.
Nearly 100 local residents and parish councillors packed the Village Hall at the beginning of September to question Isle of Wight planning officers about the figures and highlight local concerns including infrastructure and the environment. Councillor Robertson invited the Officers back to a site visit during daylight hours which took place on Monday this week (20th September).
Cllr Robertson said:
“I am concerned at the uneven distribution of housing numbers. Bembridge has been allocated 193 homes whereas nearby Seaview & Nettlestone has a figure of 17 and Brading & St Helens has none at all.
“The Bembridge sites that have been allocated in the draft plan are outside the current settlement boundary and are close to areas that saw severe flooding this summer. 20,000 litres of water were pumped out of the nearby pub in July and several houses suffered thousands of pounds worth of damage. Flooding and environmental impact are high on the list of residents’ concerns with these draft proposals.”
Bembridge Parish Council Chair Liz White and Deputy Chair Sir Paul Kenny joined the site visit with local planning officers. Cllr White said:
“Bembridge is bound by sea on three sides and there are only two access roads. We are in many respects an island within an island. There is not the infrastructure to cope with further large-scale development. Sir Paul added, “the draft proposals to build on this scale, in a village which already has serious infrastructure problems, are silent about the impact these developments will bring.”
Cllr Robertson added:
“I would like to thank the planning officers for visiting Bembridge and engaging with an open mind. I look forward to continuing to make a strong case for Bembridge, together with parish councillors.
MP Bob Seely will be attending a meeting at 19:00 on 27th September in the Village Hall, supported by local group ‘Build a Better Bembridge’ and open to the public. Key Isle of Wight Council Cabinet Members have also been invited.