Councillors last night (Thursday) gave the green light to ongoing negotiations to purchase the site – known for its iconic Union flag frontage — from Homes England, as well as 3 other nearby sites for potential regeneration.
So the sites can be acquired without unnecessary delays, subject to an offer being agreed with Homes England, delegated powers to approve the purchase were given to Cabinet members and directors.
The sites are collectively known as Venture Quays – and as well as Columbine, include the Victoria Barracks building, the Albany warehouse, and a Maresfield Road site currently used for car parking.
By acquiring the sites the council will be able to maintain marine and associated industries at Columbine — securing employment opportunities for East Cowes and the Island — and potentially redevelop the Victoria Barracks site for leisure and public realm use, and the Albany and Maresfield Road sites for housing.
The purchase of the sites will be funded by regeneration funds, approved by the council in its budget for 2019/20, but is subject to being able to agree a purchase price with Homes England.
Island Echo is told that Homes England currently wants a lot more money for the site than what the Council are offering, but negotiations are underway to meet in the middle.
Councillor Wayne Whittle, Cabinet member for regeneration and business development, said:
“I hope businesses and the community will recognise we want to acquire these sites for the long-term benefit of East Cowes and the Isle of Wight, and that they will be encouraged to invest in the area on the back of the certainty we can offer.
“It will also give us an opportunity to work with the local community and complete the regeneration of the area for the good of all.”