A £200 MILLION regeneration programme designed to create jobs, provide more affordable homes, reduce poverty and breathe new life into some of the Island’s most deprived areas, has been approved by councillors.

‘Inspiration Island’ sets out the Isle of Wight Council's plan for regeneration over the next decade, with the aim of creating a sustainable economic future for the Island.

The project first began to take shape just over two years ago with the appointment of regeneration director Chris Ashman and assistant director Reniera O’Donnell.

The draft strategy went out for consultation in July last year and the consultation ended in October.

Last week, the Isle of Wight Council cabinet voted to approve the strategy.

It includes proposals to build 1,000 affordable homes by 2025, increase average pay to £600 per week by 2027 and close the poverty gap between the most affluent and deprived areas by 20 per cent by 2030.

In total, the strategy represents a near £30 million capital cash injection by the council into regeneration schemes. This in turn will unlock over £150 million of other public and private sector investment to drive the programme forward.

Cllr Wayne Whittle, cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said “every penny” would be targeted towards maximising future opportunity and putting right the things that were not working for Islanders.

“Our ambitious regeneration strategy sets out where we are today and the actions and activities we believe will enable the vision for the future as a place to inspire to be realised,” he said.

“Regeneration is about creating the environment within which people can live the best quality of life they can.”

The 2019-2030 strategy sets out the council’s ambition to grow and improve the Island’s wealth, education standards, skills and the availability of jobs.

The strategy — which will be regularly reviewed and updated — has been shaped by a series of workshops and conferences over the past 18 months, as well as an online ‘Wight We Want’ survey which saw nearly 2,000 people voice their priorities.

These included better and more affordable transport links (53 per cent), better paid jobs (46 per cent), better health care facilities (33 per cent) and better protection of the natural environment (32 per cent).

The document takes each area of the Island and details priority areas identified by residents, the local housing need, infrastructure imperatives and any known regeneration proposals.