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News - 26/10/17

Harbour and marine employment sites of strategic importance

At the October Board meeting, Cowes Harbour Commissioners discussed the three strategic, interlinked harbour and marine employment sites that are currently at various stages of development. These are the Cowes Outer Harbour Project/Venture Quays development in East Cowes, Kingston Marine Park at Whippingham, and Medina Yard in Cowes. 

Cowes Outer Harbour Project (OHP) 
CHC continues to fulfil its commitments to the government’s Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) led Outer Harbour Project and has been ready to deliver Phases 2 and 3 of the harbour infrastructure, a dredged Eastern Channel and extension to the Shrape breakwater, since December 2016. 

However, the ‘Harbour Infrastructure Funding Agreement’ (HIFA) between CHC, the developer of the HCA’s Victoria Quay marina in East Cowes and the HCA, has been further delayed, partially due to the Full Planning Consent not yet being finalised. Phases 2 and 3 of the harbour infrastructure works will therefore not go ahead this winter as had been originally planned. 

This delay is outside of CHC’s control, but the Commission is working with the government’s HCA, their development partner VQEL, local authorities, and key stakeholders to achieve an early agreement on the way forward.

CHC is aware of the importance of providing certainty to stakeholders on the delivery of the East Cowes Regeneration and especially CHC’s interest in the linked harbour infrastructure and sustainable marine employment facilities.

The Commission’s objectives will continue to be, protection of marine employment, marine services, and strategic harbour sites. CHC will also prioritise the capital dredge of the Eastern Channel as part of the Commission’s ongoing commitment to the Outer Harbour Project and East Cowes Regeneration Project.

CHC will continue to keep harbour stakeholders informed on progress via regular E-newsletter updates.

Medina Yard
At CHC’s October Board meeting, Commissioners also considered the latest planning application for Medina Yard.

The hybrid planning application by the Harrison Trust proposes a mixed-use re-development of Medina Yard to provide up to 535 houses and up to 18,630 sqm of non-residential floor space and associated new public realm works, landscaping, the re-construction of a sea wall and a new public slipway.

This site, formerly known as Samuel White’s, is the best-known and oldest shipbuilding and marine employment site in the Medina Valley. CHC considers that it still provides the best all-tide deep-water access, shipbuilding and marine employment site in Cowes Harbour and the River Medina.

The Commissioners reiterated the importance of agreeing deliverable plans that will provide for both interim and long-term solutions for the retention of sustainable marine employment sites in the Medina. They also highlighted the ongoing uncertainty and challenges surrounding the financial viability and delivery of the HCA’s Kingston Marine Park site at Whippingham.

The Commissioners, after consideration agreed to re-confirm their position, comments and objection to the Medina Village proposals to the Isle of Wight Planning Authority.

• Click to view CHC’s official response to the Medina Yard planning application.

Any harbour stakeholders wishing to submit comments on this Application can do so on the IW Council’s website quoting the full Planning Application Number: TCP/28471/A, P/00496/16. Comments must be received by the IWC by close of business on 3rd November 2017.


Cowes Harbour Commission has been the government’s partner in their East Cowes Regeneration Project since 2003. Following the coalition government’s abolition of Regional Development Agencies in 2012, the Commission, at the request of the Homes and Communities Agency, agreed to take on responsibility for the contractual delivery of the Outer Harbour Project infrastructure elements, namely the Cowes Breakwater, extension to the Shrape breakwater and capital dredging of the new Eastern Channel.

The Commission has delivered the Cowes Breakwater at a total cost of approximately £8 million, with circa £5 million coming from CHC and £3 million from HCA grant funding.

CHC has been working with the HCA to deliver the rest of the Outer Harbour Project infrastructure (Phases 2 and 3: Eastern Channel and Shrape extension). The planned Victoria Quay marina is due to be delivered by the HCA’s East Cowes development partner Venture Quay Estates Limited (VQEL), made up of Westcourt Real Estate and Camper & Nicholsons.