Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Further plans to regenerate Newport Harbour have been revealed

3 min read

A new hotel, multi-storey car park, up to 268 flats and 40 houses — further details have been revealed about the total revamp of Newport Harbour in a draft masterplan.

The Isle of Wight Council is laying out its vision for the area after consultations last summer to regenerate a large ‘underused area’.

Key proposals already included an opening footbridge over the River Medina, public squares and a new entrance to Seaclose Park but now developed plans are in place to help guide future planning applications.

Broken down into key sections, potential plans include either a hotel or commercial/community centre on the County Hall car park, a cultural destination at the Riverside Centre and residential buildings spread out across the harbour.

The Riverside Centre has been branded as the most significant opportunity within the masterplan boundary — either expanding the existing centre or ‘taking advantage of the waterfront location’ and turning the site into a ‘major cultural destination’.

Talks have been ongoing to move the organisations which use the centre further up the river to a higher education ‘cluster’ building at Seaclose, so the centre can be redeveloped.

Forty houses and a maximum of 268 flats, some assisted living, have been outlined throughout the development, with two main sites either side of the entrance to Seaclose Park on Fairlee Road, disposing of Fairlee Road Service Station and some along the east bank of the river.

Of those who viewed the plans during the consultation period, 81 per cent agreed or strongly agreed with the principle of new development on the east side of the river.

As part of a movement and parking strategy, a multi-storey car park could be built on the existing space in Seaclose to encourage commuters to walk or cycle into town or across the river towards St Mary’s Hospital, helping ease congestion along Fairlee.

Commercial marine uses around the harbour will stay but proposals add spaces for new ventures — shops, restaurants, cafes and other waterfront activities.

Financially, the Isle of Wight Council has assumed the project to be funded through a mix of private and public investment, linked to the phasing of the development over the next 15 years.

Incremental delivery will see the project, if approved, arrive in stages — with certain sites built to fund other ‘heavier infrastructure’ — and a hope to ‘generate interest and activity’ within the next 18 months.

Phase one will include building the residential areas, the proposed buildings on the County Hall car park and the hotel expansion in Seaclose.

In the meantime, some areas of the development planned further down the line could be turned into commercial spaces and offices — re-purposing redundant train carriages or shipping containers.

The council have suggested the regeneration of the harbour could create 500 temporary and permanent jobs.

The footbridge across the Medina will be subject to further studies.

Cabinet member for business development and regeneration, Councillor Wayne Whittle said: “These ambitious but deliverable proposals are the result of the imaginative feedback gained from local consultations.

“They have already been well received by potential developers and will help re-establish Newport’s position as the Island’s county town.”

Comments can be made on the plans from March 6 to April 20 and can be submitted by email to policy.consultation@iow.gov.uk or by post to Planning Services, Seaclose Office, Fairlee Road, Newport, PO30 2QS.

View plans here: https://www.iow.gov.uk/Residents/environment-planning-and-waste/Planning-Policy-new/Supplementary-Planning-Documents/About-1718