THERE is a need for new housing on the Isle of Wight, particularly affordable homes to keep young families here, but residents have fought development plans in almost every town and village.

The Isle of Wight Council has now released a draft housing strategy to set out its proposals so everyone on the Island — young and old — has a roof they can afford over their heads.

Here's everything you need to know about the plans:

What is the plan?

The Isle of Wight Housing Strategy is a five-year plan proposed by the Isle of Wight Council to meet the needs of the Island's current population, around 140,000 people, and the projected growth in years to come.

With a focus on people, properties, place and partnerships, the strategy sets out priorities the council is committed to achieving.

Who is the housing for?

Cllr Barry Abraham, cabinet member for housing and planning, said the strategy was aimed at keeping young people from leaving the Island due to the lack of affordable housing.

He said: "Increasing housing choice is essential for us all to achieve maximum independence and to have better life chances."

Housing will also be built for older people looking to downsize, freeing up larger homes for families.

Why is it important?

Housing on the Island is available, but for first-time buyers, and some people who rent, including young people, it is increasingly difficult to find properties in their price range.

The strategy proposes more affordable housing, from existing properties and new builds, after only 559 affordable houses were built in the last nine years.

What does it say about traveller sites?

The government has made funding available to build traveller sites. In the strategy, it is something the council said it needs to 'explore further' to ensure families have a secure place to stop, with access to water and sanitation.

Does it mention new developments?

While it does not mention any specific sites for new developments, the council has made the decision to intervene in the housing market building on council-owned sites.

Private developers will mainly provide the new houses, supported through partnerships with housing associations and others, especially when building extra-care sites for the elderly and the vulnerable.

Are we getting more affordable housing?

As of January 2020, there are 2,564 households on the council's housing register that require an 'affordable home' to live in — so affordable houses are one of the council's top priorities.

The authority is hoping to provide 100 homes per year through council-led activity over the five years of the strategy, mainly affordable homes on council-owned land including infill development on brownfield sites.

What does it say about second homes?

One in six houses on the Island are second homes. Although the strategy acknowledges this inflates house prices, which in turn causes affordability issues, it does not include any plans to reduce the number.

An empty property strategy was approved by the council last year to take action when homes have been vacant for two years. The council will intervene and negotiate with landlords with a view bringing empty homes back into council housing stock.

Should landlords be worried?

The council said it will crack down on rogue landlords who knowingly rent unsafe, substandard accommodation and 'disrupt their business models.'

However, it also said good landlords will be supported to avoid unnecessary regulation and red tape.

What about the elderly?

An Island Independent Living Strategy was approved in 2017 to enable elderly resident to downsize into a new form of extra-care accommodation. A site at the old Sandham Middle School could provide 82 housing units with private spaces as well as community facilities.

How can I have my say?

A consultation has been launched by the council and runs until March 13. You can email with your views and find the strategy at