The Isle of Wight Council has put forward its new ‘planning bible’ to try to solve the island’s housing crisis.
The draft Island Planning Strategy (IPS) paves the way for developers, the public and the planning authority for the next 15 years, setting out how the Isle of Wight Council hopes to address issues and provide housing sensitively,
This is the first stage in a line of consultations, meetings and final approval which will hope to see the plan implemented from 2023 through to 2038.
A main part of the strategy is the lowering the island’s housing targets from building 700 houses a year, which has not been attainable, to 486.
The strategy’s policies are laid out under 6 main sections, which cover everything from the economy to the environment and growth of the Island.
• Environment — Policies will protect and seek to improve all the positive aspects, including the Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, trees, heritage assets and ecology. A new dark skies park will be introduced in the south west of the Island and a biodiversity net gain of ten per cent will also be required from all new developments.
• Community — Making sure people have access to open space and community facilities while allowing more health facilities to be built where needed. Strong and healthy communities with a range of people of all ages are key and will be built in well-designed new spaces and buildings.
• Growth — For sustainable growth and development, with the Island’s population growth and people living longer, additional homes, jobs, services and infrastructure are required in the right places so people are closer to what they need.
• Housing — More houses are needed, but in lots of different types and for different needs. Homes will be built in areas where people will be able to access the services and facilities they need.
• Economy — While protecting existing jobs, new ones need to be created; land will be secured for a range of businesses to maintain and increase jobs. Policies will also ensure commercial properties on high streets can be as flexible as possible.
• Transport — Having a big impact on climate change, growth will be planned to encourage people to move around without using motor vehicles. New roads, footpaths and cycle paths infrastructure will be built where needed and, wherever possible, new development will help fund those costs.
One of the guiding principles is to improve the delivery and affordability of new homes, which has been lacking in previous years. Between April 2015 and March 2020, only 95 affordable homes have been built on the Isle of Wight.
The council hopes with the adoption of the IPS, with a realistic housing number, it will be able to move away and regain control over decision making in line with the new policies set out in the IPS.
Read the strategy and find out how to comment here.