The Isle of Wight Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has published its formal response to the Draft Isle of Wight Housing Strategy published by the Isle of Wight Council in January 2020.
CPRE is concerned that without an annual housing target it is incredibly difficult for anyone to comment constructively on the Island Housing Strategy. The number of 675 houses a year for the
next 15 years is said to be ‘under review’ but currently stands. This number is unprecedented in the history of the Island and would entail thousands of acres of lost greenfield sites across the island including the introduction of Garden Community Settlements or new towns across the Island.
CPRE Isle of Wight objects strongly to such a target.
According to CPRE, the Island Housing Strategy Draft Document understates the impact of housing currently planned on the Island over the next 15-20 years and attempts to argue that housing will be for Islanders. CPRE Isle of Wight commissioned independent research in 2019 which shows that the Island’s natural population is declining. This means most of the houses planned are for those looking to move to the Island. There is simply no mandate from Islanders to build to this extent.
Commenting on the draft housing strategy, Alex Haig-Thomas, Chairman of the Isle of Wight CPRE said:
“This draft housing strategy appears to represent a pro-development manifesto Islanders simply don’t want. Rather than reflecting the wishes of so many Islanders to protect the Island’s rural landscape, the Council appears determined to develop on our greenfield sites around the Island.
“The draft strategy features multiple misleading statements regarding the “need” and desirability of large-scale greenfield housebuilding on the Isle of Wight. With a declining natural population, any large scale house building primarily serves those looking to move here.
“The Council must now deliver, and dedicate sufficient resources to put forward the most compelling case possible to de-couple Island housing policy from flawed central government derived Standard Methodology for assessing housing need. Islanders young and old deserve a bespoke housing policy that serves real local housing need whilst recognising the constraints of fixed Island infrastructure and protecting our unique landscape.”