Delays for families moving into affordable homes at Branstone — find out why

The current building site of the Branstone farm development. Picture by Tom Lawrence.
The current building site of the Branstone farm development. Picture by Tom Lawrence.

ISLAND families are facing delays of almost ten months before they can move into their new homes at Branstone Farm.

Building work started on the 42 affordable homes in Arreton last year but they have not yet been finished.

Those behind the development, Vectis Housing, are trying to change planning stipulations so the families can move in sooner - because the lack of a footpath and speed limit signs is preventing progress.

As set out in the planning permission, a footpath access and improved highways access must be constructed before housing can be occupied.

 

Isle of Wight County Press:
Isle of Wight County Press:

Land has been secured to provide the footway but, according to documents submitted to the Isle of Wight Council by Phil Salmon Planning on behalf of Vectis Housing, there are discussions about when the work could happen to avoid the summer holiday period.

Island Roads are said to be 'insistent' the work cannot start until October 1 and with a ten-week construction time, Mr Salmon said work would not be completed until Christmas and therefore not in time for when the houses and business units would be ready for occupation.

It is proposed instead to vary the conditions, to allow families and businesses to occupy the buildings before the highways work has been finished although ensuring it would be carried out by January 31, 2023 at the latest to allow for some slippage time.

The Isle of Wight Council would have to approve the changes.

Isle of Wight County Press:
Isle of Wight County Press:

One of the proposed families moving in to a shared ownership property were told the houses were supposed to be completed in March but are now in August with no exchange date and the risk of losing their mortgage, for a second time.

They said their family has been patient, waiting for their home to be ready but should the planning application be denied they cannot imagine them waiting any longer.

They said they are the perfect example of exactly who and why the site is being built having been born, lived and worked in the area for their whole life.

Isle of Wight County Press: Picture by Tom Lawrence.
Isle of Wight County Press: Picture by Tom Lawrence.

Picture by Tom Lawrence.

"The refusal of this application would be disastrous not only for my family but I know other families who simply cannot wait that long," they said.

"It's absolutely shameful these works were not completed months ago ... so why has the ball been dropped to allow the whole project to be bottlenecked and potentially flawed."

There is also another condition as part of the permission which says a 30mph speed limit must be secured across the site before the houses or units in the business park can be occupied.

Isle of Wight County Press:
Isle of Wight County Press:

The planning documents argue that requirement is 'unnecessary' and speed controls can be applied through signage encouraging speed limits of no faster than 20mph and parking restrictions.

Island Roads has commented on the application saying the width of the roads and their alignments will help limit speeds to 30mph already.

You can view the application documents on the council's planning register by searching 22/01222/RVC. Comments can be submitted until August 26.

UPDATE: See what Vectis Housing's CEO had to say about the good news that families could be moving in sooner.