A sustainable community on the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight has ambitious plans to improve the well-being of children and families in one of its most deprived wards by building a sustainable community.

Life expectancy of residents of the Pan housing estate in Newport is 10 years less than for those living in the island’s more prosperous areas. The estate was chosen as one of 35 pathfinders nationally in a government initiative to create prosperous, inclusive and sustainable communities. In the three years it has been running, residents’ satisfaction levels have increased, according to a Mori poll.

And now the plan is to extend the estate with a new development of 800 homes, 200 of which will be affordable or low-cost housing. All new homes will achieve level four (out of six) of the code for sustainable homes – a first in the country for a housing project of this size. Homes will be energy-efficient, designed around green areas, and there will be cycle tracks running through the estate.

Those living on the old estate will be given priority to move into a new home if they have a housing need. Residents, including children, have been involved in designing houses, recreational areas and facilities they want on the estate. And ecological improvement will be constant when residents move out of the old homes, the housing association will refurbish them so they are also sustainable.

Sarah Mitchell, director of community services, says: “The estate has been designed for the housing need of the island. Social housing and privately owned homes on the new estate will be of the same quality and standard. Designers are also being asked to model new houses on the old ones so they blend in.”

The 10-year programme will see the first spade in the ground in April 2009. A target has been set to increase life expectancy of people in the ward by one year by 2012. If achieved, it will be a clear indication of the success in linking going green with well-being.

This article appears in the 10 January issue under the headline “A new lease of life”



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