CONTROVERSIAL plans for a large housing development in East Cowes have been delayed — after members of the Isle of Wight Council's planning committee unanimously voted to defer the application until they were provided with more information.

The application for up to 165 houses at Crossways — submitted by iWight Developments, a joint partnership between the council and Public Sector PLC, a construction company — was discussed at last night's (Tuesday) meeting of the planning committee.

However, the application did not specify the final number of houses that would be built on the council-owned site — a key piece of information members said they needed before a decision could be made.

East Cowes residents have raised concerns about another large housing development in the town.

The planning agent acting on behalf of the developer, Matt Richards, said there was a high need for affordable housing on the Island.

He said: "It is only by chance this land has not been developed.

"The application, if approved, will significantly contribute to the Island’s affordable housing need."

However, Whippingham and Osborne ward councillor Stephen Hendry said East Cowes had had its fair share of housing developments over the past few years, and any new development should benefit the community.

He said: "We are over capacity. Our infrastructure is being pushed to its limits.

"I do not believe the council should be bringing forward its own development scheme when developments in the area should be finished first.

"It is time we said enough is enough."

Committee member Cllr Matthew Price said the application should be resubmitted with 'more meat on its bones.'

Cllr Reg Barry said: "I would be much happier if I knew what we were voting for. I cannot understand why this is coming to to us in this form."

Cllr Shirley Smart suggested deferring the application until further details were provided about the scale and infrastructure of the development, which members supported unanimously.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Richards expressed his disappointment at the decision.

He said: "If members had gone with officers' recommendations, we could have secured the development.

"We would have come back to the committee with reserved matters including the scale, infrastructure and other issues.

"So to ask for that detail now is very disappointing. The details would have been produced in any event, now it's just delaying the delivery of affordable housing on the Island.

East Cowes ward councillor Karl Love said he was delighted with the outcome.

"As it has been deferred, it gives us a chance to look at the safety issues that have been raised," he said.

"This plan didn't show the pressure it puts on our schools and infrastructure.

"I urge the developers to come and actually listen to residents of East Cowes so they can have a look at what the town needs."

UPDATE: An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson has said: "iWight developments notes the request from the planning committee for further information regarding the proposed development at Crossways.

"In addition to the information already provided as part of the application, iWight Developments will continue to liase with all stakeholders in addressing the points raised during the committee’s debate on the application."