CONCERNS about the impact of a major housing development in the heart of an Isle of Wight village were raised at a meeting that attracted around 150 residents on Wednesday.
The meeting at Brighstone Methodist Church was called by the parish council to hear residents’ views on revised plans for the development at the Blanchard’s site, ahead of a meeting next Wednesday when it will formally consider the application.
The outline plans, which include sheltered and assisted-care bungalows, 12 open-market homes and 14 affordable homes, went on public display at the Methodist Church last Saturday.
Planning agent Christopher Scott and his team attended the meeting and heard many concerns about the impact of 57 new homes on the village.
Residents, who pointed to the parish council’s housing needs survey, were told that while it was an important document, national planning guidance and other data also had to be taken into account.
The meeting heard serviced land for a new doctors’ surgery would be made available to the Brighstone practice for £1. Dr Alan Hayes emphasised the partnership was only interested in the potential move and would not comment on the wider development.
In a statement issued after the meeting, Cllr Bob Seely, member for Central Wight, said: "It was evident that the mood of the meeting was very much against the development, and despite what the development team said, I believe the mood of the meeting reflects the wider mood in the village and the Back of the Wight.
"This development is just too large.
"We already have one development which is likely to be soon underway in the village — and which includes affordable housing — and the communal feeling is that this new one is not needed."
He highlight that the village was in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the development site covered ten acres of agricultural land near the middle of the village.
He said: "There was concern that the developers have not waited for the village’s Neighbourhood Plan to be accepted, because the village’s own housing survey shows that far fewer houses will be needed than the developer’s plans.
"There are also fears that those acting for the estate will get planning permission and then sell the land with permission onto someone else, who will then try to change what is there.
"There maybe need for a new doctors surgery and for a small number of affordable houses for young families and first-time buyers. We do not need a large-scale development.
"To make this scheme viable, and to pay for the significant costs of new drainage required, many houses will have to be built.
"Rather than build lots of houses to make draining the site viable, wouldn’t it be better to sell the land as agricultural land, and offer it to the village, rather than plonk dozens of houses where they are neither wanted nor needed?"
The scheme has been proposed by the trustee of the Cheverton family estate.
"The Cheverton brothers were public-spirited people who wanted good to come out of this scheme for the village.
"I call on the developers and lawyers involved in this scheme and involved in the Cheverton estate to talk with village residents. I would love to see the field taken into communal ownership.
"I encourage everyone in the village, and the parish, indeed, anyone with an interest in development on the Island – to voice an opinion."
The plans can be viewed here.
Brighstone Parish Council will consider the plans on Wednesday, at 7.30pm, at the Methodist church.