Isle of Wight housebuilders have welcomed the next steps a crucial planning strategy is taking, but have criticised councillors who say the Island does not need more housing.
Bosses at Captiva Homes, one of the Island’s biggest developers and behind Ryde’s West Acre Park, say there is no shortage of housing demand but the Island has not been building enough houses for a very long time.
The Isle of Wight Council has drafted a planning strategy, which is set to be sent for approval shortly, to help address the Island’s housing need by reducing housing targets and setting standards developers have to adhere to.
Captiva’s chief executive Iain Delaney said it was a great step forward but there was no doubt the Island needs a coherent plan in place to help housing delivery and lift government-imposed sanctions. The new plan, he said, would not be perfect but it was a step that was required, especially with the under-delivery of houses on the Island, which has stretched into the thousands of houses in the last 10 years.
Mr Delaney said:
“We see time and time again the council’s challenge is the delivery of affordable housing for Islanders but there is not a clear path on how to do that.
“It does not take an economics degree to see that if we don’t build enough, prices will go up further.”
The housing squeeze has got tighter, Mr Delaney said, as the Island saw among the highest increases in house prices last year but also a significant reduction in rental stock.
Mr Delaney added:
“It is beyond dispute the Island housing crisis exists with 2,500 families on the housing register waiting for accommodation but there is still no tangible plan for how the council will deliver homes.”
Mr Delaney said with Barratt Homes projects coming to an end, and no more lined up, there was nothing to fill the gap, he also added that they don’t shy away from delivering affordable housing and want to continue to grow the affordable stock on the Island but also “make the open market housing we deliver as affordable and appropriate to deal with the housing need as possible”.
James Pink, Captiva’s director, said:
“It pains me when you listen to some councillors, trying to take housing out of villages, we need young families to contribute to our communities.
“I love this Island, I would do anything for it, but we are not going to build on every green field and this is what people don’t understand – we are growing, we cannot draw up the drawbridge.”
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