Over the past two weeks I have attended public meetings with residents in Freshwater, Wellow and Bembridge to discuss planning and housing in their communities.

These meetings have been packed full of Isle of Wight residents concerned about ugly urban sprawl and the impact of more and more greenfield development is having the Island’s environment.

I would like to thank all those Islanders who have taken the time to come to these meetings and contribute towards shaping our future. I thank also the planning department who have put a lot of work into it, and councillors for all sides who are leading the debate in their own communities.

The consultation on the new Island Plan closes at 5pm today (Friday) and it’s important that residents are listened to. We need to get planning and housing right.

I believe that we should be making the case for exceptional circumstances when it comes to housing numbers — and that is what I am urging the council to do.

That means challenging how the numbers are calculated, not just saying we can’t build what government wants us to.

For 50 years we have undermined our own case by not making the case for the Isle of Wight’s unique status.

We have rubber-stamped greenfield development time and time again, some of which has been land banked and never built on — so we haven’t even met our targets.

Much of what we have built has been the wrong type of housing. We build so little affordable housing, so we lose our young people, and we have families struggling to find suitable, affordable accommodation.

Right now it’s a lose/lose situation. We need more council and housing association housing. We need housing for Islanders.

Our own population is actually predicted to decrease, so building nearly 500 homes a year is nonsense. We also don’t have the capacity to build that, and we will just be setting ourselves up for failure. That’s why we need to challenge the numbers as well as our ability to build.

We need good quality housing, build to recognisable local styles, in appropriate numbers, for Islanders, in existing communities.

We do not need car dependent, ugly, generic, low density, large-scale, housing estates on greenfield land that isn’t built for Islanders and damages our landscape, our quality of life and our tourism offer.

Our natural environment is beautiful and precious, and we need to make sure it’s protected which is why I am lobbying government for greater landscape protection too.

We need to get the Island Plan right — one that builds new homes in sensitive numbers and one that gives greater thought to existing communities, the environment, infrastructure and local housing need.

Islanders can submit their comments on the plan by 5pm today (Friday) here: https://www.iow.gov.uk/Residents/environment-planning-and-waste/Planning-Policy-new/The-Island-Plan-Review/Surveys-and-Consultations

My response can be viewed here: https://www.bobseely.org.uk/news/mp-responds-island-plan-consultation, or email me at bob.seely.mp@parliament.uk.