East Cowes and Whippingham are ‘at capacity’ and could not cope with almost 600 new homes for the area, Isle of Wight councillors have warned.

Concerns have been raised by Cllrs Karl Love (East Cowes) and Stephen Hendry (Whippingham and Osborne) on the pressures new housing would place on the area’s infrastructure.

The Island Plan states 274 new homes are planned for East Cowes, but Cllr Love said this number could be as high as 594 if a number of proposed developments go through — although some have not submitted planning applications.

Cllr Love called it ‘housing development policy madness’ for the Isle of Wight Council to consider the developments.

He said:

“We will have our community voice heard and resist poor planning decisions and design concepts that have negative impacts on our town and way of life. If developers want to invest in our town then work with our community and town council or keep Away.

“The problem of meeting the local and national affordable housing shortages should not solely be concerned about the amount of profit a development or council can make from it. That’s the rhetoric I constantly hear from our Island administration.

“If profitability is the only consideration, people will be left with unmet needs, the most obvious being homelessness, shortage of community services, schools, doctors and facilities.”[SIC]

A government-imposed housing target calls for 641 homes to be built every year on the Isle of Wight between 2020 and 2035 — a total of 9,615 houses

Cllr Hendry said:

“East Cowes and Whippingham has had its fair share of housing in recent times. We have approximately 1,700 homes built across developments such as Hawthorn Meadows, Osborne Heights, The David Wilson Home site, the Barratt’s Marina and other smaller developments.

“East Cowes and Whippingham are at capacity. Our infrastructure is being pushed to its limits, the new housing that is still being built is not being filled.
“A holistic view needs to be taken when it comes to planning strategy on the Island to keep our unique communities preserved. It’s time we said enough is enough.”[SIC]

The Folly Road, Crossways, Hawthorn Meadows, Victoria Quays and Norris Castle and Spring Hill developments were among the developments listed by Cllr Love as a cause for concern.

He said there was not enough scrutiny during development proposals and criticised a lack of transparency and consultation from the council.

The Isle of Wight Council said the lack of suitable housing needed to be addressed, and concerns regarding infrastructure would be addressed as the projects moved forward.

A spokesperson for the council said:

“The Isle of Wight Council recognises the serious and long-lasting effect that the lack of suitable housing has on the quality of life for Islanders, including East Cowes.The council is focused in its determination to bring forward good quality, appropriate homes that will benefit Island communities.

“East Cowes is an important location in relation to the whole of the island and the range of housing, employment, transport and community-inspired regeneration proposals in the East Medina Valley area as a whole reflects this status.

“The council and its partners in key utilities, provision of health services, the social housing sector and Island roads will seek to address local concerns connected with any development and ensure these are addressed as projects move forward and ultimately seek permission from the local planning authority.”[SIC]