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Culture Secretary Nicky Morgan has today (Saturday) announced that Ryde’s and Newport’s High Streets will be among 69 in the country to benefit from a £95million heritage boost.

Increasing competition from online outlets is putting high streets across the country under growing pressure. As part of the Government’s drive to help high streets adapt to changing consumer habits, the £95million funding will provide a welcome boost that will breathe new life into historic buildings and areas in our towns and cities.

In Newport, supported by local shops and businesses, a partnership of Newport and Carisbrooke Parish Council, the Isle of Wight Council and Newport Business Association has been successful in winning £700,000 from Historic England.

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Alongside contributions from partners, incuding the Isle of Wight Council, this goes towards a total project of £1.4 million for Newport’s High Street and town centre. The aim is to make the high street a place that everybody living on the Island wants to use and visit, and to increase residential accommodation within the town centre. Improving historic buildings in the town is also on the agenda.

Newport is also set to receive a cash boost for its diminishing High Street. Photo: Ed Manley

Ryde Business Association and Ryde Town Council have had similar success with a grant of £480,000 that alongside partner funds will contribute towards a total of £960,000 to be spent on Ryde’s historic High Street and town centre heritage.

For Ryde, the aim is to re-use a significant amount of vacant floor space through a diversifying mix of commerce and culture, and it is hoped that some town centre space can be turned into homes or holiday accommodation.

The initiative will be funded by combining £40million from the Department for Digital, Culture Media and Sport’s Heritage High Street Fund with £52million from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Future High Street Fund. £3million will be provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to support a cultural programme to engage people in the life and history of their high streets.

The investment builds on the successful Heritage Action Zones programme, run by Historic England, and will turn empty and underused buildings into creative spaces, offices, retail outlets and housing to support wider regeneration in the 69 successful areas by attracting future commercial investment.

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Councillor Wayne Whittle, Cabinet member for Regeneration at the Isle of Wight Council said:

“Heritage for the island is one of our strengths – we have a lot of it. That’s why conserving and enhancing our heritage is key in our regeneration strategy.

“We know that historic character particularly helps commerce in towns, so these grants and the national recognition they bring are not just window dressing but will genuinely help support and grow our shops and businesses in Ryde and Newport, and then across the island.”

Councillor Michael Lilley, Mayor of Ryde, has said:

“I am delighted to hear this great news. Ryde has a great heritage and we need to celebrate this. This recognition will enable us to regenerate our town and start a programme of bringing our high street back to its former glory. This has been a real community team effort and I wish to thank everyone at Ryde Town Council, Isle of Wight Council, Ryde Business Association and Ryde Society that worked collaboratively on Ryde’s submission”.

Councillor Julie Jones Evans, Chair of Newport and Carisbrooke Parish Council said:

“We would like to thank Historic England for their recent panel visit to the Isle of Wight and for recognising the depth and breadth of Newport’s heritage.

“We are excited to be chosen as an area to take forward with funding. We have been inspired by the work done by Historic England in Kings Lynn and Derby and other action zones and we are really looking forward to developing a strong relationship with HE to unlock the potential of the County Town of the Isle of Wight by bringing its historic story to the forefront of regeneration plans for the Island.

“We have strong partnership working in Newport and we recognise that this funding is a key first step towards economic regeneration of our high street and will provide a lasting legacy and foundation for transformational change. Our plans include utilising the HE Streets for all principles, shop front improvements as well maximising benefits from the cultural programme.”

Emily Gee, Historic England Regional Director for London and the South East said:

“We are delighted that the High Street Heritage Action Zones announced today mean that the historic character and local commitment to Ryde and Newport high streets are being harnessed for regeneration. Through partnerships like these, heritage can be a great catalyst for positive change and we look forward to working with the people and businesses of the Isle of Wight to deliver these projects together for the future of the place.”

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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John Smith

When are people going to realise that the biggest issue for high streets is parking and traffic. You can inject as much money as you like in making high streets appealing places to go, but if you know your going to struggle to park or have to walk a fair distance then the appeal is lost. I never use Newport for shopping unless I really have to as I know i will have to queue to get into Newport, and then drive round trying to find somewhere to park. Whereas I could just go online and order the same thing… Read more »


It is also, much cheaper to buy from on line retailers.


I really hope this has a positive effect but can’t help worrying that the main result will be that the empty shops are converted into housing and lost forever.

We have an opportunity for some creative thinking here that could make a real difference – don’t let us down IWCC.

Old bean

Brilliant news really is but can’t they keep the council out of it as everything they have involvement in goes horribly wrong

betty boo

Let’s see. The corrupted will no doubt snaffle away some of this pot for themselves. Could have thrown Sandown a few quid over Ryde.


Why? Why not just rejoice that the Island as a whole will benefit, rather than have a selfish, town biased attitude. Perhaps Sandown Town Council didn’t apply?


Sandown needs more than a few quid. I think the town have to apply for it, which I have read else where Sandown did not bother.

Az-zahra Aziz

Likely just fill high streets with tiny flats for third world immigrants to inhabit until they have filled enough wombs to ‘gain’ enough points to be ‘given’ a council property.

See it how it is.

Common Sense

Please excuse the phrase “Pissing in the wind”, but, sadly, the government and councils are equally to blame for the demise of high street shops. Online shopping is the biggest increasing market sector, but, apart from that, shop rates are far too high to sustain a fair income for independent shops. They need a huge footfall each week just to break even. Compound that with extortionate parking fees, and a lack of parking space, and you can understand why out-of-town retail parks continue to thrive…FREE PARKING. Therefore ANY cash injection into trying to revive local high streets is pissing in… Read more »


What about Sandown getting like a ghost town

none given

sandown is getting like a ghost town, because no one buys anything in the town and as such local shops close, due to lack of trade. Coffee shops etc are seasonal and cannot be sustained throughout the winter, without dedicated and loyal customers. The tourists see sandown as dilapidated and unwelcoming. I hear tourists being recommended the beaches at Ryde, the attractions such as alum bay, blackgang, osborne house, carisbrooke castle, the bus rover tickets, the steam railway, monkey haven to name but a few. None of these are in Sandown. There is no desire by business to promote sandown… Read more »

none given

For Ryde, the aim is to re-use a significant amount of vacant floor space through a diversifying mix of commerce and culture, and it is hoped that some town centre space can be turned into homes or holiday accommodation. “in other words”….. we know that there is nothing we can do about it, unless individuals decide to start up businesses and fill the empty shops. No amount of chatter or clever talk and meetings will change the fundamental fact, that you need entrepreneurs to start a business and make a go of it. If you want to encourage people to… Read more »

West Wighter

Sandown needs to be flattened, the shops are a disgrace and tat, it’s just filthy!
Not to mention the people!
A stroll through a back street in Baghdad would be nicer……..

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