Plans to restore the Grade II listed Appley Tower on Ryde seafront have finally been submitted.
The tower has been closed to the public for many years but now there is fresh hope to bring it back into use.
In an application submitted to the Isle of Wight Council, by Natural Enterprise, the tower would be renovated, repaired and reused as a shop and art gallery, as well as for educational purposes.
The tower was last used in 2018 as a one-off on Appley Day but in the past has been used as a cafe, a tourist shop and also somewhere to get your fortune read.
Planning documents say due to time it has now stood empty, the tower requires investment to bring it up to a standard where it can be used and enjoyed by the public once more.
Speaking in November last year, Graham Biss, chief executive of Natural Enterprise, told Ryde Town Council there were concerns the repair costs would hinder the scheme if they spiralled any further. A study in 2019 estimated repairs would cost more than £220,000 but to get the tower in a good enough state to open it to the public would be £330,000. A more up-to-date cost exercise was being completed.
Works proposed as part of the application include repairs to the damaged stonework, doors and windows with new timber decking and information boards outside the tower. There would be new LED lighting installed too.
Internally, a sliding door would be added, as well as a mezzanine level and stairs to allow the building to be used for community arts.
A planning statement, prepared by SJC Planning, says the works would not fundamentally alter the tower itself. It says the changes are necessary to ensure safety of the visiting public and to protect the long-term future of the tower but it cannot remain unused and empty.
4 beach huts have also been proposed as part of the application, adding to the existing rows further down Appley Beach. There is also suggestion of a coffee van being able to park outside.
The proposed huts would provide income to pay for future repairs and maintenance of the tower.
You can view the plans, 22/00639/FUL, on the council’s planning register. Comments can be submitted until 14th June.
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