NEW PLANNING STRATEGY SEEKS TO ADDRESS NEED FOR AFFORDABLE HOUSING

With fewer than 100 affordable homes built in the last 5 years on the Isle of Wight, the new planning strategy is seeking to address that need.

The Isle of Wight Council has unveiled dedicated policies for delivering affordable housing in its latest draft of the Island Planning Strategy (IPS).

There will also be opportunities for the council to further discount market value and control who can buy the properties.

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There are currently more than 2,000 individual households on the council’s housing register in the top 4 most urgent categories of need.

Between April 2015 and March 2020, 93 affordable properties were built, with 1 year (2018/19) no affordable units being built at all. During that 5-year period though, 1,473 homes were built on the Island, but that still fell below the expected level of 2,600 properties.

Across sites allocated for housing growth included in the IPS, which will run between 2023 and 2038, the council hope 2,023 affordable homes will be built. See how that pans out across the Island here:

  • West Wight: 89
  • West Medina: 332
  • Newport: 748
  • East Medina: 176
  • Ryde area: 554
  • The Bay area: 124

The council’s 2018 housing needs assessment said 242 homes should be built a year to meet the affordable housing need on the Island, based on an overall housing need figure of 641. However, with the council aiming for a revised housing target of 486, the IPS states 35% of those built, or 135 properties, should be affordable.

To help manage this, new policies have been drafted for the delivery of units and exception sites for first-time buyers and in rural areas. Exception site designation allows for a more lenient view of planning policies as long as certain conditions are met.

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In developments with a net gain of 10 or more dwellings, at least 35% will need to be affordable, and only in exceptional circumstances will it be considered through an off-site provision or financial contribution. Out of that 35%, at least 25% will need to be made available as first homes with the remaining units split 70/30 into affordable rent and either starter homes, discounted market sales or other routes to affordable homeownership.

For example, in a development of 100 houses, using the minimum targets required, 65 houses will be sold at market value, 9 as first homes, 19 affordably rented and 7 sold with shared ownership.

A new government scheme has been introduced for first homes, where properties will be available to buy with a minimum discount of 30% below their full market value. When a first-time buyer wishes to sell their first home though, it can only be sold to another first-time buyer.

The council also has the ability to prioritise the first homes for local people or key workers and increase the discount to require a minimum of 40% off the market value.

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Work done by the council has shown for a property to be truly affordable for an Islander, there needs to be around a 60% discount of the market value. House prices are not affordable for young people living within rural communities, so many young Islanders move away from the places they have grown up to find accommodation they can afford.

The council has introduced a policy for rural and first home exception sites to be built outside of the settlement boundaries. In rural exception sites, the council will support the principle of affordable housing to meet the local need on sites that may not normally be used for housing.

Ideally, rural sites would provide nothing but affordable properties, however, the IPS recognised with reduced public subsidy and the need for affordable homes there needs to be a level of flexibility so a small number of market homes is accepted.

The small sites will provide up to 20 homes unless there is a significant local need.

First home exception sites, however, will not be acceptable in designated rural areas so should be located next to an existing settlement, proportionate in size and not have a negative impact on protected areas.

The council is currently seeking views on the IPS, with comments accepted until 1st October. To read the IPS and find where to comment, you can visit: iow.gov.uk/Residents/Environment-Planning-and-Waste/Planning-Policy-new/The-Island-Plan-Review/Surveys-and-Consultations

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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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isle of wighter
isle of wighter
2 months ago

There are currently more than 2,000 individual households on the council’s housing register in the top 4 most urgent categories of need.
…..

and if there weren’t so many people moving to the island at the expense of the taxpayer and at the other end, second home owners, then there would already be enough houses for all – with no need to destroy more of the environment just to house people that were not born here.

Stop messin' about
Stop messin' about
2 months ago

Not a fan of these schemes. There’s always winners and losers, and always loopholes that let people make a quick profit. And then the scheme gets scrapped cos it doesn’t solve the problem.

And obviously developers never lose.

truthouts
truthouts
2 months ago

Surely it has been the norm for generations that if you can’t afford to live in the area you were born either for housing or employment, you moved to an area that could sustain you.

Of course, that is for those that wish to help themselves and not have everything provided for them. I can’t recall a 60% discount on market value ever having been applied to houses in London in the 70’s when the pensioners of today (who now have the audacity to retire to the island) had a family to house and support….

Sure4Law
Sure4Law
Reply to  truthouts
2 months ago

Distortions in the housing market caused by inflationary, almost zero interest rates, BTL mortgages and the developing Tory socialist support crutch is penalising hard working families trying to get on the housing ladder. We need a good old traditional recession to get back to normal I’m sorry to say. We have always lived with economic cycles and this one is a bubble of absolute epic proportions.

Steve
Steve
2 months ago

No need to seek
Just say no to developers unless its 50/50 or more in favour of affordable housing and only sold to island residents
How difficult is that to do.
Its not rocket science

Fed up.
Fed up.
2 months ago

Fed up with hearing about it. There is always going to be more people no matter how many houses get built, so there is never going to be enough houses for those who want them. That is the main problem. When will people wake up to this? When there is literally no space left to built, there will still be people saying there are not enough affordable homes. Start looking at the reasons and not the effects.

Hope Springs
Hope Springs
Reply to  Fed up.
2 months ago

Certainly true that we can’t go on ignoring (or, in Boris’ case, fuelling) the population increase.
But there are two immediate actions which could alleviate the housing problem:

  1. Allow local authorities to build for let and prohibit right-to-buy;
  2. make all houses subject to Capital Gains Tax (after indexing for one home per family and allowing costs of genuine improvement)

So long as Tories are in charge – and there is no credible opposition – don’t expect any change.

 

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