COWES OUTER HARBOUR PROJECT: WHERE WE ARE NOW
The Cowes Outer Harbour Project (OHP) seeks to support the regeneration of East Cowes and also to make Cowes a true harbour, providing additional protection, improving navigational safety, increasing the usability and long-term potential of the outer harbour area. The project has been the result of a partnership between the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and Cowes Harbour Commission.
The OHP has three main components:
• A system of wave protection including a new fixed Outer Breakwater and a short extension to the Shrape Breakwater
• A new eastern channel for leisure craft (to improve navigational safety and minimise risks)
• A new marina (to support the regeneration of East Cowes)
Progress to date
Significant progress was made in 2010 with the OHP gaining full marine development consent by the new governments, the Marine Maritime Organisation (M.M.O) and the Isle of Wight Council Planning Authority confirming their “‘resolution to grant planning consent” subject to confirmation of normal legal development agreements. In addition, SEEDA went out to open tender to offer the development opportunity and as a result has appointed Sutton Harbour Holdings as its preferred Development Partner.
In 2010, the new coalition governments announced that all the Regional Development Agencies are to be abolished by March 2012 as part of their restructuring and financial cutbacks. Unfortunately, the uncertainty during the election period and the governments’ ongoing decision process in respect to the future and delivery of the land assets and important regional economic development plans, has introduced some inevitable delays.
Delivery & on-going progress
Much will depend on issues outside the direct control of Cowes Harbour Commission. However, work is still continuing apace and the delivery of this project remains the Commission’s number one priority!
SEEDA plans to complete the Development Agreements with the Isle of Wight Council and commence some of the infrastructure improvement works such as upgrading access roads and parking. The completion of these agreements will trigger the issue of full planning consent.
SEEDA is continuing its ongoing negotiations with its preferred Developer.
CHC and SEEDA await the decision from the coalition government on the future delivery mechanisms and funding for existing important regional economic development projects including the Outer Harbour Plan.
Further information and news of all developments on this project will be posted on cowesharbourcommission.co.uk and also published in our regular E-Newsletters.
If you know someone who might benefit from receiving the CHC E-Newsletters providing a round-up of news and information for all users and locals interested in Cowes Harbour, then please invite them to register via our web site at cowesharbourcommission.co.uk.
New Aid to Navigation – Shrape Beacon
Every year a number of yachts ‘touch bottom’ or get stranded on the Shrape bank. The Commission has therefore obtained permission from the Marine Maritime Organisation (MMO), Crown Estate and Natural England for the installation of a new Shrape Beacon. The proposal was advertised on our web site and a letter has been sent to all Cowes based yacht clubs inviting comments. It is hoped that the new beacon will be in place by May.
Safety first & foremost
Port Marine Safety Code
As a result of a number of incidents involving sailing vessels racing in and also commercial traffic using the Cowes Fairway, a new notification procedure was introduced in 2010 and it has been successfully implemented by the Island Sailing Club and the Royal London YC.
Owing to its success Cowes Clubs and Classes have, on behalf of Cowes Harbour Commission, invited all the Cowes Clubs to instigate the Notification Procedure prior to the start of the 2011 racing season.
Cowes Classes Association has made additional reference in their Day Class Sailing Instructions to the precautions to be taken when crossing the Cowes Fairway.
Please keep up to date with the Notices to Mariners published on our CHC website.
Cowes Port Handbook & Directory and cowes.co.uk
We’re pleased to say that the new Cowes Port Handbook is on track and due for delivery before Easter. The team at Island Holiday Media (IHM) Ltd has been delighted with the feedback and support that they have received in Cowes and East Cowes whilst pulling together the all-new publication over the past 12 weeks.
“From the introduction by Dame Ellen MacArthur to the support of the new Cowes Week sponsor, Aberdeen Asset Management, we could not be more pleased with how the publication has sprung into life,” commented Tim Addison, Director, IHM.
“There will be an informal launch event in Cowes shortly after the first copies arrive and then our attention will switch 100% to distribution. IHM is committed to ensuring that there are Handbooks available to as many visitors and yachtsmen as possible throughout the season.”
If you are interested in a preview of the new content, then why not take a look at cowes.co.uk and please do give us your feedback. Many of the Handbook’s features, including advice on arriving and staying in Cowes, have been completely re-written for 2011.
Since switching on the news, events and accommodation channels, all the search terms (e.g. “cowes news”) have gone straight to the top of Google. This has to be very good news for Cowes businesses and it is certainly creating an international shop window for Cowes and re-establishing cowes.co.uk as the pre-eminent website for ‘everything Cowes’.
Please keep in touch!
Don’t forget that Cowes Harbour Commission is always happy to gain feedback on its services and on the issues it is tackling on your behalf. If you want to talk to the Harbour Master, Capt. Stuart McIntosh or to Rod Hodgson, the Deputy HM, please feel free to call into the Harbour Office on Town Quay, or phone and make an appointment on Tel: 01983 293 952, or email email@example.com.