Hundreds of Isle of Wight residents helped shape multi-million pound plans to regenerate East Cowes on Thursday at a public consultation event at East Cowes Town Hall, which was attended by around 600 people.
Local business owners, residents and visitors had the chance to see the draft plans for the regeneration of the town, ask questions about the redevelopment and give their thoughts on what the revitalised East Cowes Town Centre could look like.
On show were the latest proposed designs for Red Funnel’s new terminal building, which would move as part of the wider regeneration scheme and feature improved ticketing areas and a decked viewing area overlooking the River Medina. In addition, the relocated marshalling yard would cater for more vehicles, helping to alleviate traffic congestion in the town centre.
Artists’ impressions of potential land uses for Trinity Wharf and Phoenix Yard were also displayed, with one scenario depicting a mixed use waterfront featuring bars, restaurants, cafes, apartments and offices and another scenario showing a ‘waterfront employment hub’ with space for marine businesses and some housing.
Red Funnel CEO, Kevin George, said:
“Feedback on these plans is absolutely fundamental so we are incredibly thankful to all 600 people who took the time to visit us. The two different scenarios for Trinity Wharf and Phoenix Yard proved popular among those who visited but of course there is still time for others to have their say and the final design could be a mix of the two, or indeed something completely new.
“I would urge anyone who wasn’t able to attend today but is interested in the future of East Cowes to visit our terminal building in East Cowes before June 8 to see the exhibition boards and submit their feedback. Alternatively they can visit www.eastcowesregeneration.co.uk and do the same online.”
Peter Frankum, head of master planning at Savills Urban Design, led the event and said:
“There was a very positive response to the idea of transforming East Cowes into a waterfront destination but the suggestion of creating more employment space was also popular. Parking and traffic congestion were two of the current key issues that residents raised with us and their comments will prove vital as we continue to look at possible solutions.
“While it is still early days and the plans are not yet set in stone, the feedback we collected today has brought us one step closer to our vision of making East Cowes a better place to live, work, travel and do business.”
The exhibition boards from the public consultation will now go on display in Red Funnel’s terminal building in East Cowes. There, members of the public will also be able to pick up questionnaires to fill in and give their feedback on the plans. Alternatively, they can fill in the questionnaire online at www.eastcowesregeneration.co.uk. All responses must be returned by 8th June.
Once all public feedback has been collected, it will be used to inform and update the plans and a formal planning application is expected to be submitted to Isle of Wight Council in mid-July. If permission is granted by the end of the year, design work will begin in 2016, with work on the ground following from 2017.