CONFUSION in the council chamber meant a planning application was approved by one more vote than it was meant to — following a councillor's repeated claim she wasn't going to vote the application through.

Outline plans for 17 dwellings have been agreed by the Isle of Wight Council's planning committee on Gibbwell Field, between Nettlestone Hill and Seaview Lane in Nettlestone.

An amendment to the plans was proposed by Cllr Geoff Brodie — to remove the reference to sheltered housing and replace it to include 'appropriate affordable housing' — which was then voted on.

A break in the proceedings between those voting for and against however caused confusion meaning Cllr Vanessa Churchman, who continually claimed she would oppose the plans, actually voted in favour, passing it by six to three.

Plans for Gibbwell Field were submitted by SGJ Bloombridge in 2012 and have changed dramatically since.

Some of the first proposals seven years ago included allotments, a bigger housing development, a community hall and a First World War memorial.

Now, former workshops at the top of the field will be demolished to make way for residential units, a car park for the use of Nettlestone Primary School and a footpath through the site.

However, Nettlestone residents have been opposed since it was first made public.

Patricia Redpath said she had the weight of the community on her shoulders and the school's request for a car park was 'shameful'.

She said: "I have seen so much emotion and desperation over losing any of our green fields.

"If it is approved the development will diminish the setting and character of our village — it should not be under consideration, it must be refused."

David Long, the agent on behalf of SGJ Bloombridge, said: "There is a problem here — this parish council does have a housing need and it hasn't been delivered. The last development here was over ten years ago.

"We need to encourage housing on the Island."

Cllr Reg Barry, ward councillor for the Nettlestone and Seaview area, complained about the site visit the planning committee took — after not being shown inside the warehouses, unlike the planning inspector.

He said:"Have our policies changed so much that we don't want to protect our rural villages? This shouldn't be here.

"It would seriously harm the rural character, I believe we still need to protect that beautiful site."

Cllr Barry did not vote as he represents the ward affected.

Work will begin on the site once reserved matters — appearance, landscaping, layout and scale — have been approved, and brought back before the planning committee as requested.

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