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Unlocking Doors and Opportunities with First Branstone Farm Residents

The autumn sunshine was welcome recently as the first residents and shared homeowners excitedly received their keys and unlocked their new front doors at Branstone Farm.

With a new open green space to enjoy and connect with nature, a communal orchard and garden to grow and harvest produce, and community activities and events to try new things and make new friendships, Branstone Farm is an award-winning development that is a template for regeneration, sustainability and inclusive living.

Each of the 42 affordable homes, a major achievement in support of the island housing strategy, has been built to high specification for energy efficiency to help reduce energy use for tenants and residents. Tastefully faced in a mixture of wood, stone and brick to create a harmonious ‘village feel’ to the site layout and with generous gardens blending into the natural surroundings, there are 2, 3 and 4 bedroom properties for much needed rental and shared ownership.

Residents Mr and Mrs Clarke, who are shared ownership homeowners through the scheme, explain why moving to Branstone Farm is so important and the new opportunities it brings for them, “It has been a stressful experience due to the delays which is understandable. Louisa at Hose Rhodes Dickson estate agents has been amazing and really helpful. The best thing about shared ownership is being given the opportunity to purchase a larger house that you might not necessarily be accepted for, unless it was shared ownership. It’s a good thing to be part of and we feel very lucky for that.” 

New Vectis Housing tenants, Teressa and Chris Gough, shared their thoughts as a family on how moving to Branstone Farm will change their lives and how they are looking forwards to a new future, “We’ve been on the Island Home Finder for 4 years and it’s been a struggle to find a 4 bedroom rental property that meets our needs as a family as larger properties are hard to find. We’ve been sleeping in our dining room having ‘converted’ it to a bedroom in our previous property which is obviously not ideal as a family with teenage children. Moving to Branstone will mean a huge change in our quality of life with the children having space and privacy and they love the new open space as somewhere to explore and be outdoors. This move means a happier life for us and we can’t wait to make it our new home.” 

Kettle on and gifted fruit hamper from Vectis Housing Association

New neighbour, Tracey Wagstaff, who’s moving into one of the affordable private rental properties, says, “Being a single parent of 3 children has been challenging with a constant worry of being asked to ‘move on’ at short notice. I grew up in Winford so Branstone means I can be close to my family again which is my support network. I home school my children so the new community green space will be wonderful for outside sessions for my children as we learn about plants, wildlife and the environment through activities like pond dipping, wildlife safaris and seeing the seasons change. This is a new start for my little family with a new home, a new mobility car and my new ability dog, Honey, who I trained during lockdown.”

Ability dog Honey explores her new garden space

Martyn Pearl, Chief Executive Officer at Vectis Housing Association, says, “Branstone Farm is a major housing project for the Isle of Wight given the recognised shortage of affordable homes, particularly to support those households on medium- and low incomes. Through this high quality, integrated development, that has community and environmental purpose at its core, Vectis sees the prospect for all the new tenants and residents to be involved in one of the most ancient parishes on the island but also to bring new interests and experiences adding to the vitality and opportunities in the locality.”

Councillor Ian Stephens, Cabinet member for housing provision, said: “I am delighted that the first residents have moved into their new homes at Branstone Farm. Our partnership with Vectis housing on this project is an example I want to see replicated on other council owned sites on the island, bringing our Biosphere vision to life. Addressing islander housing needs is a key priority for this administration and I want to put on record the contribution of Councillor Clare Mosdell in making this happen. The impact on people’s wellbeing of having a safe, secure home cannot be underestimated but also feeling part of a local community and having great access to green space must be key aspects of all the housing delivery this council supports.”

Stoneham Construction Director, Andy Corbin, added, “Stoneham Construction is immensely proud to be the built-environment partner at Branstone Farm. From first site drawings to finished homes, it is with great pleasure that residents can now enjoy their new properties and all of the surroundings created within this new enticing development. Furthermore, the whole team at Stoneham Construction would like to thank all its supply chain who have contributed to this development, as well as sending our wishes to all the Branstone residents’ for every happiness in their new homes.”

New Homes Department Development Client Account Manager, Louisa Mursell, at selling agent Hose Rhodes Dickson says “Branstone is a unique and exciting housing development that has been in high demand and it is great to see a community-based development. It has been a pleasure to be a part of this journey with the shared ownership purchasers and to work alongside Vectis Housing Association again in this successful scheme in providing affordable housing to local people. Getting the keys to their new homes is the most exciting part and we at Hose Rhodes Dickson, wish all the new residents at Branstone Farm a very happy future.”

Sharon Harvey, Operations Director, and Jo Sandells, Housing Services Manager, at Vectis Housing Association summed up the occasion by saying, “It’s lovely to be here to see the start of this new community at Branstone Farm and we (Vectis Housing Association) look forward to seeing it grow and flourish.”

Vectis Housing Team: L to R – Sharon Harvey (Vectis Operations Director), Jo Sandells (Vectis Housing Services Manager), Rosie McGlinchey (Vectis Trainee Housing Officer), Carol Coleman (Vectis Housing Officer)
Meet the neighbours – the beginning of a new community at Branstone Farm