MP Bob Seely is backing the Wight Bowmen Archery Club in their attempt to stop their field being used for housing development.
Their club home, Appley field, is earmarked for development in the Island Plan - a document which fulfils Government-imposed housing targets. The plan targets the greenfield site for the construction of at least 25 homes.
Wight Bowmen Chairman, Stuart Dyer said: “We’ve been leasing our field from the council since 1970, not only paying rent but undertaking all management works ourselves, therefore our leasehold has no drain on the public purse. We’ve already asked for an extended lease to 2050.
“In 1998 our club wanted to build further facilities on our field but planning permission was refused by the council because they would not agree to any development in a strategic green gap.”
Club member, Lee Grace said: “If we lost our field, our club would probably close.”
Bob met with the club at their field to hear their concerns and received an 80-named petition calling for the field to be removed from the Island Plan.
Bob said: “I’ll be sending the petition to the council asking them to think again about what they’re signing up to in the Island Plan and asking them to put the needs of Islanders first. I have already contacted the Cabinet Member for Planning and Housing.”
Cllr Abraham said: “I’m sympathetic to the Wight Bowmen being able to retain the use of the land and will be asking officers to look at this site again with a view to removing it from the Strategic Housing Land Availability Assessment.”
Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Business Development, Cllr Wayne Whittle, said: “Regeneration has many strands including arts, sport and culture. We need all of these on the Island for locals to enjoy and to provide a diverse tourism offer. I favour its historic community leisure designation.”
Bob said: “I’m encouraged by the response from Cllr Abraham who clearly understands the need to balance development with preserving all that makes the Island special. We need new housing and we need regeneration but not at any cost.”
Last month Bob launched a petition opposing 9,000 new homes on the Island.
Bob said: “I’m interested to hear what constituents think about the Island Plan and I encourage everyone to sign my petition and complete the survey which can be found here http://islandvision.uk/islandplan/ . It’s vital that people have a say now while there is a chance to influence the plan.