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News - 26/11/15

Strategic planning for the Medina Valley – Isle of Wight

The marine and maritime sector is central to the economy of the Solent, and it is vital that the retention of adequate waterfront employment sites is prioritised in order for our marine industries to reach their potential.

Cowes Harbour Commission’s strategic policies therefore stress the importance to the harbour and Isle of Wight economy of maintaining sustainable marine employment sites with all-tide access for the long-term benefit of all stakeholders. 

Locally, the need for a comprehensive understanding of the Medina Valley’s waterfront assets is echoed in concerns being voiced by the marine and maritime business community over the potential loss of key employment sites with all-tide access to alternative uses such as residential and retail.

Cowes Harbour Commissioners (CHC) share the serious concerns raised by stakeholders, including the Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee (CHAC), over current and proposed planning development applications. At their October Board meeting, Commissioners considered in detail the issues and challenges regarding the provision of sustainable marine employment sites with good all-tide access in the Medina Valley. As a result, Chairman Roger Mathias and the Commissioners agreed to inform the Isle of Wight Council and Solent LEP of the concerns of CHC and members of the stakeholder Harbour Advisory Committee and to confirm the Commission’s policy on this major strategic planning and investment issue.

In its response to CHC, the Solent LEP reaffirmed that it recognises the importance of long-term sustainable provision of strategic marine employment sites in the Solent area and stated its commitment to ensuring that Local Planning Authorities are aware of the significance of waterfront sites to our world-class marine and maritime sector. In line with this commitment, the Solent LEP has published an independent study into waterfront employment sites across the area that should provide an evidence base to help inform and guide strategic investment and planning decisions moving forward. This study has identified a specific cluster of 19 sites on the River Medina that have direct water frontage.

On 11th November 2015, the Isle of Wight Council (IWC) published its draft area action plans for public consultation covering the Medina Valley, Ryde, and The Bay; the consultation continues until 21st December. The Medina Valley is a key regeneration area, and once adopted, the Medina Valley Plan will be a statutory development plan document used to determine planning applications in the area.

Commissioners discussed the Medina Valley Plan at their November Board meeting and agreed the importance of both CHC and the Harbour Advisory Committee giving consideration to this vital planning strategy document. Commissioners expressed their concern that the Medina Valley Plan may not adequately inform and address the concerns of both CHC and CHAC on the critical issue of protecting marine employment sites. In simple terms, CHC would like to see the Medina Valley Plan assist in answering the fundamental questions of how much land is potentially required for marine employment sites with all-tide access, where that land will be sited, and how it will be viably and sustainably delivered. Commissioners concluded that CHC should consult further with the CHAC and submit a formal response to the Medina Valley Plan consultation.

Commissioners would like to emphasise that CHC continues to welcome every opportunity of working with all interested parties so that both interim and long-term sustainable policies, delivery plans, and investment, are agreed to ensure that the long-term provision of marine employment sites with all-tide access is maintained in the Medina Estuary and Cowes Harbour.

References:
Solent Local Growth Deal Consultation: Solent Gateways – Summary of Responses – Nov 2015 (Solent LEP)
Area Action Plans for Medina Valley, Ryde and The Bay – Nov 2015 (IWC) Comments on the Area Action Plans consultation may be submitted to policy.consultation@iow.gov.uk.
Medina Valley Plan – Consultation Draft – Nov 2015 (IWC)
Medina Valley Plan Proposals Map Draft Consultation version – 2015 (IWC)
Making Waves – Solent’s Marine and Maritime Sector – Sept 2015 (Solent LEP)
Maritime Futures – Solent Waterfront Sites – Sept 2015 (Solent LEP)
Medina Yard Regeneration (The Harrison Trust, John Thompson & Partners, Masons Property Advisers)
East Cowes Regeneration (IWC, ECTC, Red Funnel, HCA)
CHC Response to IWC Consultation on the Medina Valley Plan – July 2014 (Cowes Harbour Commission)
Kingston Marine Park (Invest in Isle of Wight)