Possible plans to demolish Isle of Wight council buildings in the Newport Harbour area to make way for regeneration were revealed at Wednesday’s Newport Harbour Regeneration workshop.
The news appeared to slip out by accident, when mock-up plans were shared by Masters students from Portsmouth University. They’ve been working for the last year on regeneration plans for the County town as part of their Masters project.
All move to Camp Hill
The news was greeted with shock by those attending the workshop – particularly given that it included demolishing County Hall.
At the end of the evening, as Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, drew the event to a close, he explained the move and his vision for a “One Island One Service” hub at the former prison site, Camp Hill, where the Isle of Wight Council and all emergency services would be based.
Discussions with minister
Clrr Stewart’s vision for the integrated service was announced back in March prior to the local elections.
He said eight months ago that he’d already spoken at length to the then-local government secretary, Sajid Javid, about the plans.
Pioneering integrated care hub
Of course, it has been well-reported that Isle of Wight already has a pioneering integrated care hub.
Based at St Mary’s Hospital in Newport, it’s home to twelve sets of people: 999 emergency call operators; NHS 111 call handlers; paramedic clinical advisers; a crisis response team; GP out-of-hours services; district nurses; mental health workers; social workers; pharmacists; the private pendant alarm company Wightcare; occupational therapists and the charity Age UK.
Confusion and shock at plans
Parish councillor for Newport South, Jaimie Bundell, who lives in Carisbrooke and stood as a Green councillor for Newport West in the Isle of Wight council elections in May, was at the workshop on Wednesday. She told OnTheWight,
“There was a lot of confusion in the room, it caused more shock than any of the students’ ideas!
“After Council Leader Cllr Dave Stewart clarified the situation, myself and others in the room found that the idea did make sense. Whilst there was no timescale, I agree that in the long-run this should ultimately save money and be a more efficient way of managing services.
“It will also open up more space for the regeneration of that area of Newport.”
The Camp Hill site
Camp Hill Prison was decommissioned and the land handed back to the Ministry of Justice in 2013. The move was part of a reorganistion of the prison
Two years later, in 2015, when OnTheWight approached the Ministry of Justice about plans for the land, they said,
A spokesperson told us,
“We’ll be letting people know in due course, but there is no definitive decision yet.”
No decision has yet been made about the move to Camp Hill, which is currently still owned by the Ministry of Justice.
11.30am Comment from Cllr Bundell added.
Image: © Simon Haytack