THE development of the now deserted Camp Hill prison in Parkhurst is 'not a priority' for the new Isle of Wight Council.

Despite infrastructure improvements and a hope to build more than 1,000 homes on the brownfield site in Parkhurst, deputy leader of the Isle of Wight Council, Cllr Ian Stephens told the neighbourhoods and regeneration scrutiny committee last night the Alliance administration is 'not looking towards' Camp Hill.

Looking at the progress the council's housing strategy has made in the last year, Cllr Stephens was asked whether there were any items at risk.

Cllr Stephens highlighted one area of the strategy, which was put together by the previous Conservative administration, to work with the Ministry of Justice to bring forward the key strategic housing site to deliver homes in the next ten years.

Speaking after the meeting, Cllr Stephens said it was not one of the administration's priorities, with other sites to focus on.

These are the former Island Learning Centre, in Lake; Thompson House in Gatcombe and the former Weston Academy in Totland, providing around 70 homes.

The council has just been given nearly £1 million to invest in and build houses on the three brownfield sites.

The former Tory administration wanted to turn Camp Hill into a 'garden village', with an estimated 1,500 homes.

The re-working of the St Mary's Roundabout into a junction was done partially with the major development in mind to cope with the future increase in traffic.

A £6.3 million deal had been brokered between the Isle of Wight Council and the Ministry of Justice to take over some of the prison estate's neglected highways and bring them up to scratch.

It was hoped, at the time, the deal could help strengthen the partnership between the two and make Camp Hill available for purchase.

Work has since started to improve the roads.