Sometimes you read something that angers you in so many ways, it’s hard to actually know how to respond.

Jim Gibbon’s recent column (online 26-09-21) is one of those.

Why? Perhaps because not only am I an overner but — and here’s the shocker — I am an immigrant.

Yes, I grew up in South Africa and therefore I am someone who Jim suggests should be fingerprinted, DNA-tested and watched to ensure we don’t drain this country, or this Island, of its resources.

It would be easy to refute the inaccuracies in Jim’s column but I’d prefer to share a different perspective.

It is the fact that we are such an amazing patchwork of cultures, nationalities, colours, religions and experiences that makes Britain the place people want to come to.

Why anyone would downplay the richness this brings, just to ‘keep them foreigners out’, is beyond me.

Jim is right that the Isle of Wight’s infrastructure is under strain, but why muddle the need for improved infrastructure with immigration?

Even if not a single foreigner moved to the UK, unless we are planning mass sterilisation, the population will grow.

We also all live longer and therefore all still be in our homes meaning those kids will have nowhere to live.

So, let’s be honest, we are going to need more homes and we are going to need a lot of them.

The Isle of Wight currently has a falling birth rate with almost all of ‘them overners’ moving here being older people.

If we don’t retain and attract a younger, more economically active population, who will care for them?

Who will pay into the system that keeps us in free healthcare and pensions? Surely these people deserve a home that is more than ‘spartan’?

New homes and people moving to the Isle of Wight, or indeed Britain, should be celebrated.

Development renews our infrastructure and brings young people to our ageing population with new ideas, jobs, and opinions.

If we want to stay relevant, pulling up the drawbridge and shouting ‘we’re full’ is not the answer.

If Jim had done his homework, he’d have found out that under 11 per cent of the Island is built on.

If all the houses proposed in the new Island Plan were built tomorrow, that figure would go up by only one percent. Hardly the concrete jungle many Islanders talk about.

We know that it has to be well-managed, and our Biosphere status shows that UNESCO already thinks it is.

There are many positive people, like me, who believe that the growth of housing, jobs, economy and population on the Isle of Wight is a good thing.

I don't understand why opinions like Jim’s continue to be the prevailing noise.

There are not yet enough of us beating the drum of why we should be supporting growth of population and homes.

We must challenge the small-minded, pale, male and stale viewpoints that continue to give the Island the reputation of being stuck in the past.

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