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Affordable Housing, Military Road And Special Needs Proposals Put Forwards For Isle Of Wight Budget

Increased affordable housing, a study on the future of the iconic Military Road and a facility for children and young people with extensive special needs are all proposals being put forward to change the Isle of Wight Council’s 2024/25 budget.

Ahead of the budget-setting meeting on Wednesday (February 28), opposition councillors have put forward their proposals to change the ruling Alliance Administration’s plans for the Island in the year ahead.

Each alternative proposal, however, keeps the council tax increase for residents at 4.99 per cent — which would see a Band D taxpayer’s bill increase by £90 a year to £1,908.

The Alliance has set out a range of plans which include increasing fees for marriages and cremations, freezing parking charges and restructuring the libraries and heritage services.

But what have other councillors got to say?

Cllrs Richard Quigley and Geoff Brodie have proposed “the opportunity” to provide affordable homes for Islanders by requesting the cabinet executive review its assets, looking to sell at least £1 million worth to go towards further housing investment.

The councillors have asked that grants be made available to registered social landlords for additional housing supply and £680,000 be borrowed, which along with the £1 million, would buy two-bed houses and let them out.

The Liberal Democrats have proposed adding an additional £250,000 to the community capacity and resilience fund, introduced by the Alliance.

The money would come from removing the proposed place/towns initiative fund and pulling £50,000 from the council’s transformation savings.

The group says the money could then be used to address poverty, in the mental health voluntary sector and to provide peer support for women moving on after trauma.

Working together, the Conservatives and Empowering Islanders groups are looking to carry out a number of feasibility studies with the potential to borrow millions of pounds in the future to provide solar panels over car parks; affordable pre-fabricated homes and create an Island facility for children and young people with extensive special needs so they do not have to be sent to the mainland.

The groups hope the council could work with developers to build affordable housing on council land, using £1.9 million.

The groups are also looking to use £250,000 to fund a comprehensive investigation into the options for maintaining the Military Road; create a Tourism Infrastructure Fund so areas can be regenerated and keep the council’s contact centre open on a Saturday.

Digital aids and technology enhancements could also be funded for adult social care.

The amendments will be debated and a decision will be made at the full council meeting on Wednesday.

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