Council housing scheme to be considered by IW Council

Councillors are considering plans to take delivery of 24 properties from Pan developer Barratt to kick start a supply of new affordable homes available for Island residents.

The move would see the Newport housing come into Isle of Wight Council control in lieu of the land value of the site, ahead of the development’s projected completion in 2028, a cabinet report has said.

One option in front of councillors is to set up a company to build and manage homes long-term to meet local needs, and also for sale at market value, with the Pan properties the start of that process.

Managing the homes long-term suggests the council will be retaining ownership of the properties and letting them out.

This would involve developing existing council sites to address affordable housing needs as the opportunity arises.

The report will come before the council’s cabinet on Thursday night (November 8).

The report states that deciding to take action would “help the council begin to address the urgent housing needs of the local community”.

Council leader Councillor Dave Stewart said: “The lack of affordable housing on the Island is a big issue and this report looks at a variety of options for the council to really intervene in the market to develop and manage affordable homes.

“Initially we will have to invest the council’s money in each scheme on a case-by-case basis, but now that the government has removed the borrowing cap for councils that build and manage their own homes, we need to look closely at accessing this extra source of funding to speed up our rate of delivery of new homes.

“The idea of taking those 24 houses at Pan would very much start this process and means we have homes available quickly, if it is agreed by cabinet. We could then develop this approach or others to ensure we really do see more affordable homes built in the years to come.”

Housing affordability remains an issue on the Island with the average house price around £215,000 and an average salary of £25,000.

More affordable homes would also cut down on the use of temporary accommodation, which is costing the council on average £1.4 million a year.

The report said at least 222 affordable homes are needed each year on the Island up to 2026, with around 65 per cent of those needing to be one and two-bedroom properties.