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The Isle of Wight Council’s housing target of 9,615 (641 houses a year) is “based on flawed statistics and methodology” according to new research.

The report by Isle of Wight Campaign to Protect Rural England shows the proposed additional housing, risks worsening the already existing demographic imbalance, whilst failing to serve the needs of Islanders young or old.

The Isle of Wight CPRE supports the Isle of Wight Council’s intention to challenge these flawed central government-driven housing targets and conduct its own evidence-based assessment of real local housing need.

The Isle of Wight CPRE now calls on the Isle of Wight Council:

  • To put forward the most compelling case possible for “exceptional circumstances” to de-couple the Island’s housing strategy from the flawed, government- derived Standard Methodology for assessing housing need.
  • To put local need, not external demand at the centre of its revised housing strategy, genuinely serving the needs of Islanders, whilst respecting the level of greenfield protection the Island landscape deserves.

The Isle of Wight CPRE now calls on Central Government:

  • To honor its commitment to the Island via an “Island Deal” -to include freedom from the constraints of the Standard Methodology for assessing housing need, which is ill-suited to the Island’s unique circumstances.

As previously reported by Isle of Wight Radio, the Prime Minister reassured Bob Seely MP “Don’t worry we’ll do an Island Deal”.

In response to the report, Mr Seely said:

“This report is a valuable contribution.  I am campaigning for an Island Plan which reflects the needs of the Island.

“Housing needs to be built in sensible numbers, on brownfield sites in existing communities for Islanders young and old. I am delighted that thousands of Islanders are getting behind this campaign to demand that housing on the Island be built for Islanders.”

Commenting on the report, Ian Wellby, Trustee of the Isle of Wight CPRE said:

“We welcome the Council’s recently announced intention to challenge these flawed central government-driven housing targets and conduct its own evidence-based assessment of local need.

“The Council must now deliver, and dedicate sufficient resources to put forward the most compelling case possible for exceptional circumstances to de-couple Island housing policy from the flawed central government-derived Standard Methodology for assessing housing need.”

The full report is available here.

In response to the report, an Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said:

“In the draft Island Planning Strategy published for public consultation in December 2018, the Isle of Wight Council explained how the Isle of Wight could achieve the level of housing which is expected by Government policy. This was worked out using a calculation known as the ‘standard method’ – which is a method agreed by the government.

Cllr Barry Abraham, Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing, said:

“We know people feel strongly about housing. So I am glad the council is exploring every opportunity to see if the Island can establish an evidence-led approach that will lead to a successful and positive outcome for the Island Planning Strategy process.

“We can’t just do nothing. An up-to-date local plan and a housing land supply are vital, because if we don’t agree that locally, we won’t be able to manage development in the way that people expect”.