Company urges plan to support local economy and environment

Steve Burton.

The Isle of Wight Council has been urged to ensure future development gives more consideration to using locally-sourced and sustainable materials.

Island company Wight Building Materials is leading calls for the emerging new planning blueprint – the Island Planning Strategy – to be framed to encourage developers to use sustainably sourced materials.

The Blackwater-based company has made a number of suggestions to the council about how the draft strategy might be amended to ensure would-be developers source goods and materials from the Island. It believes doing so would be good both for the local economy and also for the environment.

Steve Burton, Wight Building Materials’ general manager, said: “Firstly, we would like to thank the council for its efforts to involve the local community in developing this important planning blueprint.

“It is clear the authority is serious about enabling regeneration and has also made it clear it wants this to be done in a sustainable way that is in keeping with all that makes the Island such a special place.

“That is a balancing act but we think a major step towards achieving the goal would be to use the Island Planning Strategy to encourage developers to use locally sourced, sustainable materials wherever possible.

“Using local products, materials and labour not only reduces delivery miles it also means that any such development also contributes to the local economy.

“There are numerous local companies that already supply high quality goods and services to the construction industry. We believe there is scope within the Island Planning Strategy to encourage this use still further.

“There are existing council plans and strategies that already embrace this ethos and there is an opportunity to enshrine that pro-active and pro-IW thinking in the council’s over-arching planning document.”

Norman Arnold, chairman of the IW Economic Development Board, said: “The Island needs to take every opportunity it can to embrace not just regeneration but regeneration from within.

“A planning strategy that puts today’s business community at the heart of tomorrow’s regeneration has to be supported.”

Based at St Georges Down, Blackwater, an active quarry since the 1930s, Wight Building Materials (formerly Bardon Vectis) was created in August 2013 and employs around 40 Island people.

Following mineral extraction, WBM undertakes sensitive restoration following strict planning and environmental regulations.  The company also works with the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust to enhance land on and around sites to improve the visual amenity and to protect local habitats and species.