The developers behind controversial plans for up to 165 houses on the Crossways greenfield site in East Cowes say they have had “lots of positive comments”. More than 100 people turned out to have their say about the plans at a meeting in the town hall. 

The field off Crossways Road, East Cowes is earmarked for development

Speaking at a public meeting on Saturday, Chief Executive of PSP Adam Cunnington dismissed claims by a local councillor that Wight Developments would be building “cheap, 1960s prefabs”. He said, 

“These are super quality houses. The target is zero carbon. They’re leading edge. It’s wrong to be dismissive. They are mortgageable.”

The Isle of Wight Council is the other half of the development team, as outline permission is sought. Of the proposed total, 58 houses would be “affordable”. They are proposed for the farm field adjacent to Queensgate Foundation Primary School and exits from the main road and Beatrice Avenue are proposed.

There was no detail on how much the other properties would sell for, but the developer told the meeting that an out-the-factory three bed house in another region cost £125,000. The final product would depend on many factors, but would cost more to buy.   

In a comment issued today (Monday), the Isle of Wight Council said,

“We are grateful for this latest opportunity to engage with the East Cowes community about our housing proposals for Crossways. The Crossways site has long been identified as having potential for housing in the Isle of Wight Council Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.

“We believe it is ideally suited to providing much-needed homes for young professionals and families, as well as vital affordable housing. Our proposals for Crossways would help address the chronic undersupply of good-quality homes on the Isle of Wight in recent years, through modern and carbon-friendly construction methods.

“As discussed at the recent public meeting in East Cowes, we will soon be holding an information event for the local community to discuss our planning application in more detail and provide an opportunity to ask our project team questions about the scheme.”

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely told the packed meeting that the development would not meet the needs of young Islanders, as one or two bed houses were not guaranteed. He said there were many grounds on which to object to the scheme. 

He urged Islanders not to blame the developers, instead calling on the Isle of Wight Council to help him tackle the number of new-builds required by the Government. He said he needs the Isle of Wight Council to plead “exceptional circumstance”, because without that he “couldn’t help them”. 

Mr Seely said,  

“It’s not [the developer’s] fault. They’re given instructions by your political masters – the Isle of Wight Council.

“Isle of Wight Council are ambitious and their hearts are in the right place. They think their masters are people in Whitehall and what we need to remind them is their masters are sitting in the hall right now.”

The MP said that a traffic survey carried out the day after the Easter bank holiday was not representative of fluctuating Isle of Wight traffic. It did not take into account the impact of tourism.   

Whippingham Parish Council clerk Val Taylor said it was “ethically unacceptable” for the Isle of Wight Council to both propose and decide on planning applications. She suggested the scheme be handed to another authority for consideration. PSP’s Adam Cunnington said his firm has partnered with nineteen councils around the country and gets “no favours”.  The Isle of Wight Council has previously argued that its planning committee is independent.

Council Leader Dave Stewart and Portfolio Holder Barry Abrahams attended, but as audience members. They revealed to the meeting that they had not been invited to take part.

A follow-up event is being planned. In the meantime, the Isle of Wight Council is advertising the scheme and it is open for comments until Friday. You can also email [email protected].