Some 120 people attended a packed meeting in the Methodist Church, Brighstone on Wednesday to discuss the Blanchard’s Field Development – a proposed major housing development in the rural village of Brighstone.
The two-hour meeting heard the development team, lead by Chris Scott, argue in favour of the development which will see multiple properties build on the site in the middle of the village.
Commenting after the meeting, Bob Seely, Councillor for Central Wight, said:
“First, thank you to the developers’ team for attending, for the many members of the public for attending and for John Cirrone, the Parish Council head, for hosting the meeting.
“It was evident that the mood of the meeting was very much against the development, and despite what the development team said, I believe that the mood of the meeting reflects the wider mood in the village and the Back of the Island. This development is just too large. We already have one development which is likely to be soon underway in the village – and which includes affordable housing – and the communal feeling is that this new one is not needed”.
Brighstone is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site the developers plan to build on is a 10-acre agricultural field near the middle of the village.
The application seeks outline permission for a mixed use development comprising Abbeyfield residence (13 flats), sheltered housing (4 flats and 6 chalet bungalows), 8 semidetached assisted care bungalows, 12 units of open market housing (8 detached houses 2 semidetached houses 1 detached bungalow and 1 detached chalet bungalow), 14 units of affordable housing (4 semidetached houses terrace of 4 houses and 6 flats).
Cllr Seely added:
“There was concern that the developers have not waited for the village’s Neighbourhood Plan to be accepted, because the village’s own housing survey shows that many fewer houses will be needed than the developer’s plans.
“There are also fears that those acting for the estate will get planning permission and then sell the land with permission onto someone else, who will then try to change what is there.
“There maybe need for a new doctors surgery and for a small number of affordable housing for young families and first-time buyers. We do not need a large-scale development. To make this scheme viable, and to pay for the significant costs of new drainage required, many houses will have to be built. Rather than build lots of houses to make draining the site viable, wouldn’t it be better to sell the land as agricultural land, and offer it to the village, rather than plonk dozens of houses where they are neither wanted nor needed.
“The Cheverton brothers were public-spirited people who wanted good to come out of this scheme for the village.
“I call on the developers and lawyers involved in this scheme and involved in the Cheverton estate to talk with village residents. I would love to see the field taken into communal ownership.
“I encourage everyone in the village, and the parish – indeed – anyone with an interest in development on the Island – to voice an opinion. Go to: http://www.iwight.com/planning/AppDetails3.aspx?frmId=28569, click on Comment Online and please make your feelings, whatever they are known to the Planning Department”.