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News - 15/12/14

East Cowes residents view exhibition on Solent Gateways plans

Artist’s impression of how the future Trinity Wharf might look as part of the Solent Gateways projectThe Homes and Communities Agency’s decision on their chosen developers for the Victoria Marina and associated redevelopment in East Cowes follows CHC’s report of last month’s announcement by the Solent Gateways partners on a project encompassing new concept plans for East Cowes and £15m investment for improving cross-Solent connections between Southampton and the Isle of Wight.

Around 350 people attended two public exhibitions in East Cowes recently showing concept designs for the proposed Solent Gateways project that will see huge investment in the town. In addition, many shoppers were able to view the proposals on display at the town’s Waitrose store.

Solent Gateways public exhibition panelsThe project team received a good level of feedback with many positive comments about the future plans for the town. The comments from stakeholder groups and members of the public will be used to shape the plans as they are further developed over the coming months.

Councillor Ian Stephens, leader of the Isle of Wight Council, said: “We are delighted that around £7.5 million is to be invested in East Cowes as part of this regionally important joint project with our partners Southampton City Council and Red Funnel.

“The Solent Gateways project provides a real opportunity to build on the improvements already made in the town as part of the original master plan which was launched in 2007. As well as improving and securing the Island’s connectivity with the mainland it will make East Cowes a welcoming town for visitors and a destination in its own right with a new town centre layout to include new public water frontage, retail units, floating bridge and housing – ultimately providing a real boost to the local economy.

“Sharing the concept plans with stakeholders and residents marked the starting point of the delivery of this project,” continued Cllr. Ian Stephens, “and their feedback will help us to identify where there is more work to do and how East Cowes and the Isle of Wight can achieve the maximum benefit from this investment.”

Artist's impression of the new York Square in East Cowes
Artist’s impression of the proposed new York Square in East Cowes
The business case containing outline plans and costings was submitted to the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership on 5th December. Consultation will start early next year to ensure that the scheme makes the best of the opportunities offered by this funding, the final plans will then be the subject of a planning application during which time further comment can be made.

Southampton’s Trafalgar Dock is proposed site for new Red Funnel terminal
Meanwhile, across the Solent, plans for a new ferry terminal at Southampton’s Trafalgar Dock went on display in early December at a public exhibition at Westgate Hall.

Southampton City Council and the Isle of Wight Council are working closely together, with other external partners, on the project to improve connectivity and journey experience to and from the Isle of Wight, via Southampton, and create two outstanding ‘destinations’.

The creation of a better transport network will enable development opportunities on both sides of the water to come forward by freeing up vital land. This will encourage economic development, create new neighbourhoods and business districts, leisure facilities and retail hubs, create hundreds of new jobs and bolster the tourism industry as well as improving the customer experience.

Top image: Artist’s impression of the proposed new Bridge Square in East Cowes

The ‘Solent Gateways’ project is a partnership between the Homes and Communities Agency, Isle of Wight Council, Red Funnel, and Southampton City Council.