A DELEGATED decision is set to be made next week to treat Spectrum Housing Group as a 'special purchaser’ for the former West Wight Middle School, rather than sell the land on the open market.
The social landlord wants to build 35 affordable homes on the land at Freshwater, potentially securing almost £1.1 million from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) for affordable housing on the Isle of Wight.
An Isle of Wight Council report reveals Spectrum Housing Group (SHG) has offered 69 per cent affordable housing rather than the standard 35 per cent generating an extra 17 affordable homes for the village.
The council plans to instruct two independent surveyors to verify the open market value of the land and any offer by SHG will have to be at, or in excess of, their valuation.
Funding to provide the affordable homes has been approved in principle by the HCA, but the properties must be built and occupied by January 2015 or the grant could be withdrawn, the report warns.
It states: "It is unlikely that the council has sufficient time to market this site in the normal way, allowing SHG the time to make a successful bid for the land and also to secure the HCA funding which may be lost to the Island if SHG is not able to identify a suitable site for development.
"To achieve the HCA timetable, it is important that SHG start on site by June 2013."
An application for outline planning permission for 50 homes on the site was lodged with planners last year.