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Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has raised the issue of the future of the Camp Hill prison site in the House of Commons during oral questions this week.

As a result of Mr Seely’s question on Tuesday, Minister of State for Justice, Robert Buckland, has agreed to meet the MP on-site to discuss the plans to use the land for new housing designed to meet Island needs and also for a possible public sector hub recently backed by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss.

Bob asked:

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“Will the Minister update us on the sale, or the transfer, to the IW Council of Camp Hill prison. Is he aware of the importance of the site to the Island and to public housing on the Island, and does he understand the frustrations of Islanders who see yet another bit of land being land-banked by either developers or Government departments.”

Mr Buckland replied:

“My honourable friend is right to raise this issue and I am as anxious as him to make sure that the land can be put to good use.

“We’ve commissioned a demolition survey of the former Camp Hill prison. I’ll meet him when the results are available later this month and I will also visit the Island to come and see the prison estate and to talk about the matter directly with the IW Council.”

Bob said:

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“I’m pleased the Minister has agreed to meet with me to discuss this further and also that he intends to visit the Island.

“The future of the Camp Hill site is very important for the future of the Island and for our campaign to improve the Island Plan. Camp Hill is a good example of a brownfield site that can be used to provide good quality one and two-bed housing for Islanders young and old.

“If the Island’s Council and housing associations can develop this site, which has already been built on, it means we should be able to say ‘no’ to developers who want to build housing – very often not for Islanders – on greenfield sites, which damages our landscape, our quality of life and our visitor economy. Camp Hill will be an example of sustainable development of housing, built in appropriate numbers, for Islanders and preferably by Islanders”.

The MP has said that he will make sure that the Minister will also be available to meet with prison officers and to visit HMP Albany.

Mr Buckland will be the latest in a series of high-profile parliamentary figures to come to the Island following recent visits by Boris Johnson, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, Liz Truss and Dominic Raab.

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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