East Cowes councillors met to inspect the newly-completed regeneration work on East Cowes Esplanade, which has created seating and a walkway in an area previously closed off following landslips.
A 3-month project to restore access to the popular seafront area is now finished. The area is open to the public and already proving popular with local people.
The community of the town raised a significant amount of funding through donations, supported by the Isle of Wight Council and East Cowes Town Council.
Landslips in 2014 and 2018 meant parts of the beachfront road had to be closed. The major landslip still hasn’t been cleared though, meaning access has not been re-established to Castle Point.
Following the successful local campaign of community fundraising and support, the Isle of Wight Council appointed Island-based contractor, John Peck Construction, to stabilise the soft slopes with rock baskets, and install new seating along the promenade.
Councillor Sharon Lake, of East Cowes Town Council, has been coordinating local action to get the esplanade reopened. She said:
“I love it. People are just pleased to get the space back and to enjoy it on a nice sunny day.
“Of an evening you come down here and there’s somebody sat on every bench. It’s made a massive difference and tidied it up so much.
“This has been four years of hard work, but now we want the next bit done. We need to raise the funds to get a geotechnical survey, and work out how the next area can be reopened.
“So if anyone is able to help sponsor that work please contact East Cowes Town Council.”
Councillor Karl Love, from the Isle of Wight Council, added:
“The project has created enthusiasm across East Cowes from the wonderful efforts that have been made by Sharon, and the team and everybody involved.
“That’s leading on to the next part of the project which is probably going to take a little bit more time to achieve.
“We’ll be removing about 15 trees in the woodland with ash dieback disease later this year, and of course planting some more to replace them.
“Then after that I’m hoping we can find a way to do the geotechnical survey and feasibility study to continue this great project further.”
In 2020 the local community donated nearly £30,000 in sponsorship to help start the project. Volunteers put in more than 1,000 hours clean-up work to get the site ready.
Funding and support has also come from Sovereign Housing, East Cowes Community Partnership, East Cowes Town Council, the Shrape Swimmers community group, Elmstone Design, TLM Laser Ltd, John Peck Construction, the Isle of Wight Council, David Watts, Chris Ashman, Gavin Tomlinson, Chris and Lin Kemp and many other organisations and businesses.
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