Since becoming your Member of Parliament I have campaigned for better housing and planning which supports Islanders and protects the Isle of Wight's landscape and character better.

Over the past two months, I have negotiated intensively with Secretary of State Michael Gove to secure these changes in law. In doing so, I’ve led a coalition of over 100 Conservative MPs.

We’ve won an important victory nationally which will be great for the Isle of Wight.

First, housing targets will now be truly 'advisory'. There will now be an expectation for the Isle of Wight to claim 'exceptional circumstances', meaning that the Island will build a housing number suitable for its building industry and natural environment, not what is dictated by Whitehall.

Second, we will also be able to agree a much higher level of affordable housing — meaning for the first time in decades we will be able to prioritise our Island people.

Third, the government will review how to deliver more homes on brownfield land, which could provide more of the Isle of Wight's housing need in more sustainable locations.

It will also review what more can be done to convert empty buildings, spaces above shops, and derelict buildings to regenerate town centres. There are too many empty former hotels and buildings on the Island.

Design will come at the forefront of the changes and we will ensure that developers are forced to build better.

Finally, there will be new regulations to stop developers cheating the system by demanding more land for development because they refuse to build in the first place.

Starting early next year, these changes mean that planning on the Island will be greener, more community-focused, and regeneration-oriented.

The agreement isn’t perfect, no agreement is, but it is better than what we had before.

I pay tribute to all those on the Isle of Wight who have supported my campaign for better planning and housing and enabled me to take their concerns to parliament.

I promised I would change the law to get a better deal for the Isle of Wight. I’ve done that.

I now appeal to all councillors to use 'exceptional circumstance’ to look again at our housing numbers and get in place an Island plan that puts Islanders and the Island’s needs first. 

I wish everyone a Happy Christmas and New Year.