Plans to develop Branstone Farm in place

Plans are in place to develop Branstone Farm — the home of many Isle of Wight school trips.

A joint project from Vectis Housing and the Isle of Wight Council could provide a potential 46 affordable houses for Island residents on the Branstone Farm Estate — which would include a new location for Goddard’s Brewery.

The Arreton site, which included the education centre that opened in 1973, was declared surplus to requirements in June 2018 by the Isle of Wight Council and Martyn Pearl, chief executive of Vectis Housing, said he expressed interest in regenerating the area.

He said: “It is our commitment to providing local homes for local people — a real opportunity to do something special which returns the use of the building, provides houses and enhances the environment.”

Following previous public consultations and talks, a planning application will be submitted in April to develop the area into affordable housing, community allotments and a biodiversity park.

Vectis Housing has said it will submit a bid to Housing England for a grant to fund the development of houses and the larger parts will follow.

Mr Pearl said the level of affordability would be similar to other Vectis Housing properties, with residents paying rent anywhere between 60 to 70 per cent of market value — “rents people can afford.”

Potential prefabricated houses — two, three and four beds — could be built to fill the gap in the affordable housing market. Only two affordable homes had been built on the Isle of WIght in the last year.

Mr Pearl said Vectis Housing was looking to provide 150 affordable houses in the next three to five years.

“We are not going to solve the problem by ourselves but it is a start,” he said.

A business centre is part of the larger scheme, with small rural businesses filling the commercial spaces.

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: “This is an early stage for the authority on a developing project.

“The principles underpinning the proposal around development of mixed use sustainable communities are consistent with our regeneration strategy and we will continue to work with the partners and the local community in developing the proposals to highlight local benefits from the proposal in terms of jobs and affordable homes.”