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blanchardsfielddevelopmentThe building of 55 new homes in the village of Brighstone has moved one step closer to reality this week with the recommendation for the conditional approval of outline planning permission from planning officers.

The controversial plans will see properties built at Blanchards in the heart of the village, a scheme that has been opposed in great numbers by local residents.

The planning application seeks permission for a mixed use development comprising of Abbeyfield residence (13 flats), sheltered housing (4 flats and 6 chalet bungalows), 8 semidetached assisted care bungalows, 12 units of open market housing (8 detached houses 2 semidetached houses 1 detached bungalow and 1 detached chalet bungalow) plus 14 units of affordable housing (4 semidetached houses terrace of 4 houses and 6 flats).

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Council planning officers have reccomended that the plans are approved with condition that work must begin within 24 months. The Isle of Wight Council’s planning committee will make a final decision on 10th March.

Commenting on the major development in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Cllr Bob Seely (Central Wight) said:

“I am extremely disappointed by this recommendation, which I will be fighting on behalf of my residents.

“I believe that the decision goes against national planning policy.  The National Policy Planning Framework clearly states:  “Planning permission should be refused for major developments in … designated areas except in exceptional circumstances and where it can be demonstrated they are in the public interest.

“There are no ‘exceptional’ circumstances here, bar arbitrary Government targets.  It is not in the public interest.

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“Second, this recommendation ignores localism.  That it is being pushed through whilst our Neighbourhood Plan is being developed makes a mockery of local democracy. It is also deeply unpopular locally.  The Council received 262 local responses from individuals and families.  Some 275 people were against the development, six uncommitted and three in favour.  In percentage terms that is 98 percent against, one percent  undecided and one percent- yes, just one percent – in favour.

“Third, it is not sustainable.  The developer’s housing assessment was widely out of kilter with Brighstone’s own assessments.  We don’t need anything like the number of houses suggested.  This is a speculative development.

“More generally, for half a century we have based our Island economy on build, build, build.  It hasn’t worked.  Too much development damages tourism.  We need more jobs, not more housing estates.  This is another example of a failed model of development.

“It is quite clear that this development is not in the public interest and that there are no exceptional circumstances.”

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