An outline plan has been developed that maximises the potential of the site in terms of new development, whilst also retaining the Commission’s existing Boatyard storage facility on the middle terrace.
The design allows for a larger hoist to be accommodated, should this be required in the future. Although outline at this stage, the development would create additional commercial units, with 7 starter units on the upper terrace and 4 larger units on the lower terrace.
Cowes Harbour Commission has had a presence at Kingston Wharf for the past 20 years, first with a harbour workshop before then going on to develop boatyard operations in 2004. The site was acquired in 2012.
The last 2 years have seen significant changes with the departure of the 2 largest commercial tenants at Kingston. Initially, Isle of Wight Aggregates took the decision to consolidate their operations onto their existing site in Cowes, and recently, Isle of Wight Fuels ceased their fuel import business by ship to Kingston Wharf.
The area has been marketed for a couple of years but without significant resulting interest. CHC has therefore been considering alternative and strategically beneficial opportunities for further developing the potential of the Kingston site with its all-tide deep-water access and wharfage. As a result, CHC commissioned a feasibility plan from a project manager-led team of architects, civil and structural engineers to investigate the potential for partial redevelopment as a marine business park and boatyard facility to re-establish the long-term viability of the site.
At the CHC Board meeting in October, Commissioners reviewed the latest proposals for the regeneration and redevelopment of Kingston Wharf and agreed a recommendation to consult with the Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee (CHAC) prior to commencing the process for seeking outline planning permission from the Isle of Wight Council. The Board also agreed to progress the initial estimate costings into detailed costings and acknowledged that the scheme will have a funding shortfall that would require some form of grant funding support.
The initial phased development is likely to be driven by the new income revenue that can be achieved by expanding the boat storage facilities onto the lower terrace and utilising the 2 wharves for larger vessels and the potential addition of pontoons. There is also capacity to increase the size and number of boats that can be lifted by investing in an additional hoist for small vessels and in time increasing the size of the current hoist.
The subsequent phases will see the construction of the new commercial units where there is proven demand from occupiers. The first step is to make this strategic intention clear by submitting an outline planning application to enable CHC to react to market demand. CHC believes this is the right time to make this commitment to regenerate Kingston Wharf, for the benefit of the whole River Medina and port of Cowes.