The new leader of the Tory group on the Isle of Wight Council has questioned the decision not to make the Camp Hill prison site a priority for housing.

In an open letter published today (Monday), Conservative leader, Cllr Joe Robertson. told Cllr Ian Stephens it appeared the Alliance's housing policy was in disarray.

Cllr Stephens is the Alliance group's lead on housing.

He recently said the Camp Hill site was not a priority, sparking rumours it may be considered for reopening as a prison.

The Alliance hit back saying its priority now was to deliver the three brownfield sites it had received government funding for.

Cllr Robertson told Cllr Stephens in his letter: "I am concerned by your announcement that securing and redeveloping the old Camp Hill prison is not a priority to help meet the Island’s affordable housing needs.

"I understand that there may be complications to securing the Camp Hill site but there are still avenues to explore with government.

"I urge you and the Alliance Group to show ambition and leadership by exploring all options to secure this site for the Island, as a priority.

"If not, the old prison will be at risk of being used by the Ministry of Justice or the Home Office for a purpose wholly unsuitable for the Island."

Cllr Robertson asked Cllr Stephens and the Cabinet Member for Planning, Cllr Paul Fuller, to meet himself and Cllr Peter Spink about the issue.

Isle of Wight County Press: The letter to Cllr Stephens.The letter to Cllr Stephens.

An Alliance spokesperson told the County Press: "The Ministry of Justice still own the site and are in the midst of a process of reviewing their estates.

"However, we have significant capacity elsewhere in three brownfield sites in respect of which we have received £949,765 under the Brownfield Land Release Fund.

"We are still talking to the Ministry of Justice however our priority must be to bring forward those brownfield sites and prepare them for use, particularly so as not to risk losing that funding."