George finds optimism on the “favoured Isles of Scilly”
Scillies MP, Andrew George, found an up-beat community in optimistic mode when he visited the Isles of Scilly (1st-2nd October) this week. As well as holding a series of private meetings with local businesses, individuals and authorities, Mr George also held public engagements, a public meeting on St Mary’s and casework surgeries.
Mr George said, “I always look forward to my visits to the Isles of Scilly. This one provided an ideal opportunity to hear about local opportunities and concerns and to explain to islanders what I have been doing on their behalf, including: the progress of my Private Member’s Bill on Affordable Homes, which successfully received its Second Reading in Parliament in September; the progress of plans for a new helicopter service; and the recent vote on military engagement in Iraq.
“My visit also provided the platform to explore many of the key issues raised by island residents in recent months: on access to health services, provision of long term care for the elderly and infirm, to celebrate the success of our campaign to improve road surfacing, the role of the Duchy, Coastguard services, sea and air transport, to also celebrate the £multi-million harbour development, water and drainage and local housing issues.
“There are particular concerns amongst many I spoke to about the risk of development pressures on the Islands and concern that the recent ‘Ash’ Report has proposed 120 additional open market homes on the Islands over the next planned period. It would be unwise to divert planning policy away from a broad presumption on constraint on the development of market housing on the Islands. Potential development pressures on the Islands are so intense that it would be very difficult indeed for the Council to manage development pressures, nor to ensure that any market housing which is given permission would genuinely contribute to economic growth, rather than meeting the overwhelming demand for still more second and investment homes on the Islands. Lifting the constraint on housing could also run the risk of making the development of much needed affordable housing more difficult to deliver.
“However, I found much on the Islands which gives cause for optimism and there was celebration on our recent successes to achieve investment in the Islands.”