Steering group of the West Wight Villages' Residents:

In your article last week (CP 08-03-24), you reported that the decision to approve the building of 70 houses on a green field on the outskirts of Shalfleet had been described as ‘crazy’.

As residents, we agree and think the public should be made aware of the shambles that was the IW Council’s planning committee’s debate and decision.

On a split vote, decided by the committee chair’s casting vote, the committee approved this controversial application even though Island Roads recommended it should be refused and it is against the wishes of residents, the parish council, the MP, the National Trust and even the owner of the small village shop.

There were over 90 objections and no letters of support.

Those who voted in favour, foolishly believed that these houses would help to alleviate the need for affordable housing on the Island - they won’t - they will be too expensive for Islanders and go to people from the mainland.

24 cheaper houses have already built in this field which the landowner said was to meet local need for affordable homes but only three of them went to Islanders.

The committee also ignored the fact that the antiquated sewers linking the site to the pumping station and the treatment plant can’t even cope with the existing houses – since the first 24 houses were built, residents have regularly reported raw sewage coming out of manholes in their gardens and in the roads together with discharges into the nature reserve of Newtown Creek via the river Caul Bourne.

There is nothing in this application which addresses this disgraceful situation.

In addition to saying it was ‘crazy’, Cllr Price said it would be ‘bonkers’ if the development went ahead without a footpath to access Shalfleet school – and it isn’t possible to create a footpath because the owner of the adjacent land – who also opposes the development – has refused to have a path on his land.

So, this development represents an environmental disaster, in an unsustainable location which will do nothing to alleviate the Island’s housing needs.

So yes – it’s crazy! It’s bonkers!

It’s time that the planning department started listening to Islanders.