The Isle of Wight Council has been awarded almost £1million in Government funding to bring forward 3 potential brownfield sites for local housing.
The windfall will be used to seek to develop disused land at the former Island Learning Centre off Berry Hill in Lake; Thompson House off Sandy Lane in Gatcombe and the former Weston Academy in Totland.
In total, the sites could provide around 70 homes to help local people and families get on the property ladder.
The funding – which totals £949,765 – comes from the government’s ‘Brownfield land Release Fund’ which is designed to regenerate and ‘level up’ towns and cities across the country.
The bidding process was highly competitive with all English local authorities eligible to apply. The money is provided on the basis that the sites are released for development by March 2024.
Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, Cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said:
“This is fantastic news for the Island. Making the most of previously developed land will help protect our cherished countryside and green spaces.
“Delivering affordable housing for Island residents is a key priority for this council and this grant funding is a step forward in achieving that aim.”
Island MP Bob Seely has been leading a parliamentary campaign on planning and housing, arguing that the Government should do more to ensure building takes place on brownfield land. He has repeatedly objected to greenfield developments across the Island, arguing that they are harmful to the environment.
Welcoming the news, Mr Seely said:
“I am delighted the Government has created this fund and allocated us a share of it. I and others have been suggesting to the Government that more money is made available to support brownfield clean-up for housing.
“We need housebuilding, in sensitive numbers, in exiting communities, for Islanders. What we do not need is low density, car dependent, greenfield development which damages our quality of life, our tourism economy and which does permanent damage to the landscape.”
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