COUNCIL APPROVES HOUSING STRATEGY WITH MORE THAN 2,100 PEOPLE ON THE REGISTER

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With more than 2,100 people on the housing register, the Isle of Wight Council has approved a strategy which should address some of the challenges the Island faces.

The strategy, which will run until 2025, was approved at a meeting of council’s cabinet, as the stark reality of the Island’s housing needs was laid bare.

Councillor Clare Mosdell, cabinet member for adult social care, public health and housing needs, quoted Chinese philosopher, Confucius, as saying, ‘the strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home,’ to emphasise the UK was ‘currently depleted’ and experiencing a housing crisis, and so was the Island. She said:

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“This strategy is one of the most important this administration has delivered to date and we have to get it right.”

At the end of August, 2,120 people were on the housing register — which was said to be the lowest figure in the last five months. Although 337 of those people were classified in the 2 highest bands, meaning they are at least two bedrooms short and/or have severe medical and welfare issues.

At the moment, 193 households are living in temporary accommodation with 36 living in bed and breakfasts.

In August, 21 households presented themselves to the council and were accepted as being homeless and in priority need.

Between 1st April and the end of August, the council’s housing needs service was able to prevent 128 people from becoming homeless.

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Cllr Mosdell said:

“The Isle of Wight has experienced a significant and sustained unmet housing need.

“It is often heartbreaking and a massive frustration that there is not an easy or timely response we can give.

“Every town and village has to have plans to build new houses and bring existing buildings into housing use so we can maximise all brownfield opportunities.”

The outcomes of the new housing strategy, the last being adopted in 2012, will help support housing services and partners on the Island to increase choices for Island families while meeting specific needs of older and disabled residents, as well as tackling homelessness and building more affordable homes.

Cllr Barry Abraham, cabinet member for planning and housing, said not enough affordable homes had been built over the last ten years. He said:

“Now a quarter of Island households struggle to accommodate themselves in the current housing market and need a safe, warm, affordable home for their wellbeing both now and in the future.”

A housing needs survey in 2018 identified 222 new affordable houses needed to be but each year but Cllr Abraham said ‘few, if any had been built’. He said:

“This lack of affordable housing has disadvantaged Island families and led many others, particularly young people to, to move away to places where wages and house affordability is better matched.”

Despite the government recognising affordability levels as paying only 80 per cent of the market rent, affordability levels on the Island are much lower with a large number of families being able to afford 60 per cent of the market rent.

In the strategy, the Isle of Wight Council commits to intervening in the housing market, with its own housing company, in partnership with other bodies, to deliver the affordable, social housing needs but also expresses the need to bring existing buildings into housing use through any means the council can.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Little Pots

We ONLY have a ‘housing crisis’ in the UK, because we keep allowing people into the UK, and don’t return all those who come illegally.   As once here, most have huge families, thus time is making the whole situation ever worse, never better.   None arrive with a home, few come with the funds to purchase a home, so WE have to fund the cost of a home, and then ‘hope’ that they ever earn enough to pay a full rent to at least pay some of our expense back again.   Yet even if they do, it still… Read more »

Quayman111

Further to the above comments the number of ‘problem people’ exported to the IW bring their style of life to contaminate our environment with their criminal activities

Marcus

Ban 2nd home and holiday let’s on the island then. Save spending on more housing.

Fred

With such a “desperate housing shortage”, I can never understand why the Wight Motors site in Ryde wasn’t developed into affordable flats. Would have been a perfect location for starter homes. Does make you wonder if there is indeed such a shortage of houses for Islanders.

Fed up

County Hall, Newport, would be another good site. At least it would be put to good use.

Tricia

As much of concern is the will of the developers- who would much rather develop multiple units on greenfield sites. For example, the latest application for houses on the lane between Staplers and Long Lane.
 
We have to have a planning approval policy that ‘persuades’ them to focus on the brownfield, the smaller sites, and to do more than get permission, but get the work started and the job done.

Jill

Shortage of housing… What about the shortage of Hospitals, Doctors & Dentist Surgerys, Schools, decent upgrade of roads?

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