THE government's new housing plans are 'undemocratic and wrong' according to the Isle of Wight branch of the countryside charity CPRE.

Formerly known as the Campaign to Protect Rural England, the branch has spoken out against the government's White Paper, Planning For the Future.

MP Bob Seely last week said he was against paper too, and would oppose any plans to see huge increases of housing built on the Island.

Alongside the White Paper, the government is also consulting on a number of changes to the algorithm used to set the centrally-determined housing targets.

As a result, the net effect of these changes would be to increase the Isle of Wight’s housing target to 1,045 per year.

This contrasts with the 348 houses delivered on average per year on the Island over the last three years.

Commenting on the proposed reforms, Al Haig-Thomas, chairman of the Isle of Wight CPRE said: "The government’s proposed planning reforms represent a potential disaster for the Isle of Wight.

"In removing local democracy from the planning system, both individuals as well as councils are set to lose their right to object to specific developments.

"Planning should be both local and democratic, and voices such as the hundreds objecting to the destruction of Westridge Farm must be heard.

"Given both our unique Island infrastructure constraints as well as the nature of our externally driven housing demand, we’ve long argued that top down targets are not suitable for the Island.

"The new proposed method of calculating housing need continues to fail to account for the Island’s housing demand being driven almost exclusively from people looking to move here to take

advantage of our already lower house prices.

"By setting unrealistic targets that can’t be met, it’s likely the supply of more affordable town centre units most demanded by young Islanders will actually be reduced, as developers are able to cherry pick only the most profitable greenfield developments under the Government's presumption in favour of development.

"We’re delighted to support Mr Seely who is standing up for the Island against the proposed reforms, and welcome the council’s intention to join him in seeking an exception from national planning policy.”

The Isle of Wight CPRE has set out a five point formal response to the government’s proposed planning reforms.

1) Removing the right of councils, individuals, and other groups to object to specific developments is fundamentally undemocratic and wrong.

It is unrealistic to expect all individuals to become planning inspectors and scrutinise an entire local plan years in advance of a planning application being brought forward.

2) The resulting housing target of 1,045 houses per annum is an unsuitable and unrealistic target.

3) The Standard Method fails to differentiate between local and immigration led housing demand, and is fundamentally undemocratic.

4) Affordability as justification for increasing house supply is misplaced. It is too simplistic to base affordability multipliers purely on local incomes.

5) These reforms will fail to deliver for young Islanders, instead serving only to bolster profits of greenfield developers.