The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner has welcomed the news that the Island will benefit from a windfall of over £1.5million from the new Community Housing Fund, but is urging the Isle of Wight Council to reach out for ideas from the public on how it is spent.
The fund was created from higher rates of stamp duty on purchases of high value properties and second homes and has been distributed to 148 local authorities with an average payout of £405,400. The distribution this year has been on a formula using the numbers of holiday homes and and/or issues of housing unaffordability, but in future years will also be assessed on how the current allocation has been spent.
Mr Turner commented:
“This fund will enable the Isle of Wight Council to deliver community-led housing to meet the needs of Islanders. It is vital they spend it wisely, and even more so as the levels of funding in future years will depend on their success with this year’s money.
“I urge them to reach out to the public to find appropriate places where small scale developments can take place which will meet the needs of our communities and deliver good, affordable houses for Islanders. We have received more than three times the average payout, as our needs are critical and this has been recognised by the Government.”
Cllr Chris Whitehouse, speaking on behalf of the Conservative Council Group said:
“We desperately need the Council Executive to come up with innovative ideas to maximise the impact of this money. The Island is unsuitable for large developments, but people genuinely understand that our young people need decent homes that they can afford. We should look at ways of restricting the sale of such properties to people with a genuine local connection so that our towns and villages remain vibrant and thrive.
“I second Andrew’s plea to the Executive to reach out and get input from the people they are meant to represent, and the Conservative Group will be following this up early in the New Year.”