CONTROVERSIAL planning reforms — which could see the Isle of Wight forced to build an extra 1,045 houses a year — may have been paused by the government.

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has welcomed the potential pause as part of a group of Conservative backbenchers — including former Prime Minister Theresa May — who had been highly critical of the proposed overhaul.

Government ministers had said the planning rules needed to be radically changed to ensure more houses could be delivered and pledged to build 300,000 new homes a year.

Under the government's 'changes to the current planning system' consultation, it was announced the housing target for the Island, using new standard methodology calculations, would 1,045 dwellings per year.

Mr Seely had previously said the reforms cause him great concern but provided the Island the chance to make a case for pleading exceptional circumstances to the target due to the under-delivery of housing.

He said Michael Gove, the new housing secretary since Wednesday (September 15) having succeeded Robert Jenrick, will meet with the 'planning concerns' group next week to address the issues and review proposals.

Talking to BBC News today (Friday), Mr Seely seemingly confirmed the pausing of the reforms and said ministers and backbenchers needed to work together to make sure they get the reforms right.

He said: "I think [pausing] is a very good idea. We do need reform, so this is not a question of no, but we need to get planning right.

"If we do, communities of all ages are going to be grateful for the work that we have gone, putting in place a system that is community, levelling-up and environmentally-led and that is what we need."

Pointing out problems, particularly on the Island, Mr Seely said too much power is given to developers, and if that continues we will see a failing system.

He said lots of planning permissions are granted but 'greedy landowners and developers' bank the permission to sell the sites on to make money, so no houses are ultimately built, which falls foul of the Department for Housing, who complain about the lack of housing built.

The Isle of Wight Council is currently consulting on its draft Island Planning Strategy which will hopefully give the planning authority more control over the development of the Island in the next 15 years.

It was also said to be a helpful tool against the planning reforms and white papers which would increase housing targets.

Trying to fight the current housing target of 641 homes a year, the draft plan suggests 486 properties instead, basing the figures on the averages of homes that have actually been built on the Island.

Comments on the draft Island Planning Strategy are welcome until next Friday, October 1. More information can be found here:

Mr Seely will be attending a public meeting tonight (Friday) to discuss a 130 homes plan for Freshwater. People are invited along at 7pm in Freshwater Parish Hall.