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blanchardsfielddevelopmentA controversial major housing development in the rural village of Brighstone has been rejected by the Isle of Wight Council Planning Committee, a decision which has been welcomed by Councillor Bob Seely and local residents.

The Blanchards development in the heart of Brighstone moved one step closer to becoming reality when recommendation for the conditional approval of outline planning permission was given by planning officers last week. However, at a committee meeting yesterday (Tuesday) the 55-home development plan was rejected.

cllrbobseelyCommenting on the Council Planning Committee’s decision to reject the Blanchard’s planning application, Cllr Bob Seely (Central Wight), said:

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“I want to congratulate the people of Brighstone on a battle well fought by many residents.  There was an overwhelming opposition locally to this development.  It was a pleasure to campaign with residents and on their behalf.

“I believe that this application was against the spirit of localism, against the wishes of the village and parish, and contradicted planning policy.  It is an important victory because it shows councilors are willing to oppose major developments in an AONB.  It’s a victory for common sense.

“We all understand the need for sensitive, gradual development.  We opposed this development because it was a major development in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – it was just too large.  It is in a very special and beautiful part of the Island.

Cllr Seely has now called upon the developer and agent to open a conversation with the community of Brighstone over the future of the Blanchard’s Field site to help find a good use for the field that fits the needs of the community.

Cllr Seely continued:

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“I am asking the developer to stop presenting schemes that do not have the support of the Brighstone community and which do not accord with the spirit of localism. I want them to work with my residents, not against them.

“I want to thank Planning Committee members for the common sense they showed in rejecting this proposal.  I understand why some members supported this application, but it was wrong for our community.  We need small-scale development which is sensitive to our environment.  If we keep developing in rural areas we will ruin them.  There needs to be a balance.

“More broadly this, in my opinion, was yet another example of a ‘build, build, build’ model of development which we have tried for half a century and which has failed the Island.  We need more jobs, not more housing estates.”

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