The East Cowes Arts and Culture Group have gained further support for their long term vision for the Venture Quays development site in East Cowes.
The group are campaigning for the iconic Columbine ‘Union Jack’ building and surrounding areas to be used as an arts and cultural community resource such as a national gallery or museum, comparable to The Turner Contemporary in Margate or The Tate at St Ives.
EC Arts and Culture Group firmly believe that their alternative proposal for the site – to be used as a Centre of Excellence in arts, culture, design and innovation instead of planned housing development – should be seriously considered and explored as a viable, long term option in opposition of any future plans for residential development.
As part of the East Cowes Regeneration Team, the group have been informed that a long term business case for the Columbine building will need to be conducted.
Following on from a recent meeting with English Heritage’s David Bailey (Head of Historic Properties – Isle of Wight and Hampshire) and Michael Hunter (Curator of Osborne House), Mr Bailey has said in a letter of support to the group:
“Art, culture and innovation are three key threads that run through the history of Osborne, such was their importance to Prince Albert and Queen Victoria. It is therefore exciting to consider that just down the road from Osborne could be an arts and cultural resource within the confines of another, albeit very different, historic building, one that takes an innovative approach to development and further puts East Cowes on the map.
“There is an obvious synergy between what you are proposing and what we do at Osborne, so it would be wonderful to see it take shape and look at how we can potentially work together in future”.
The arts and culture group have received unanimous local support for their proposal to date from East Cowes Town Council, the Mayor of East Cowes, local councillors, East Cowes Business Association, local community groups and the Island’s MP, Bob Seely. They are now looking for campaign support, engagement and partnerships with the wider Island community.