Isle of Wight Conservatives float ideas for new ‘Newport Riverside Quarter’

Conservatives float idea to create a ‘Riverside Quarter’ of housing and reduce the size of the shopping area in Newport

Map of Newport Riverside Quarter

Ahead of the Isle of Wight council election, the Island Conservatives have today revealed a set of ideas that, if approved, would result in radical changes to Newport.

The ideas – which are just that at the moment – could see Newport’s retail offering reduced to a smaller core area, with sites such as the police station, fire station and even County Hall becoming residential areas.

“Newport Riverside Quarter”
The eastern part of the town centre within the red boundary below is being referred to as the “Newport Riverside Quarter” in the Conservatives’ regeneration proposals.

Newport Riverside Quarter

Leader of the Conservative group of councillors, Dave Stewart, says the Covid-19 pandemic has had “an irreversible impact on our town centres” and that their proposals will “breathe new life” into the county town.

Part-demolition of County Hall
Among the proposals is the idea that County Hall could be partly-demolished (retaining the original frontage) or converted to housing and that the Guildhall could become a new civic centre, with a council chamber and other public uses.

Cllr Stewart says the council’s offices are significantly under-occupied due to the rollout of home-working and that “it’s right that we look to release the majority of the County Hall site (and adjoining car parks)”.

News OnTheWight has asked the Isle of Wight council how much has been spent on improvements in the last five years and will update when we hear back (after Easter).

Keeping shtum on relocation site
As has been much talked about in the past couple of years (see here), he says they would look at creating a new combined headquarters and operation centre for the police, the fire service, elements of health provision and the local authority. 

Although Camp Hill has previously been mentioned as a site for the combined offices, Cllr Stewart says,

“A number of potential locations for such a hub are under consideration, but we must not compromise our commitment to securing value-for-money by talking about specific sites at this stage.”

Wider area for residential-led development
As well as the Newport Riverside Quarter area, a wider area, east of Holyrood Street, St Thomas’s Square and Town Lane, would be designated for residential-led development.

Wider regeneration area

Preliminary proposals
As pointed out at the beginning of this article, these ideas are just preliminary proposals.

The Conservatives say they “would be subject to further work – including the development of detailed planning policies and feasibility assessments”.   

The Isle of Wight council election takes place on Thursday 6th May.

Friday, 2nd April, 2021 6:00am

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13 Comments on "Isle of Wight Conservatives float ideas for new ‘Newport Riverside Quarter’"

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Colin
Oooh, is there an election coming up? Before having any more dreams of building more unwanted housing in unsuitable places, it is the roads infrastructure that needs sorting in Newport and those currently ruining, sorry, running the Island (as has been admirably demonstrated with totally unecessary and expensive road schemes that go nowhere near the problem areas) have shown that they haven’t a clue. Whilst wishing to… Read more »
Angela Hewitt

In their dreams

walkingwizard

Maybe county hall could be partly demolished with some councillors still in there?

Rhos yr Alarch

Looks more “carriagewayside” than riverside, to be honest. If the car-parking area in Sea Street is so surplus to requirements, it is a crying shame that the gorgeous warehouses were demolished to create it, rather than converting to housing, as done adjacent to Quay Arts…

imageering

Looks like they want to create a modern-day ghetto.

Benny C
Don’t see how to tell that. Every plan has a boundary. More relevant is that if the planning committee had refused consent for more and more retail space out of town maybe Newport wouldn’t be in such a dire position. The Committee has effectively accelerated the failure of many local businesses and reduced the viability of the high street for national retailers. We get less choice while… Read more »
Benny C
Maybe if they’d thought to put the retail park on this site it might have provided a greater overall value to islanders. It would have supported town centre enterprises, utilised existing highway infrastructure and justified investment in it. Automatically this would have connected it to public transport better, thereby increasing accessibility and equality for those without cars. Further, carbon emissions generated by retail activity would be reduced… Read more »
VentnorLad
So in the run up to an election, the unimaginative Councillors trot out ill- conceived, half-baked plans for a project that’ll never happen and the various opposition groups unimaginatively spew out unimaginative condemnation of the Councillors rather than clearly stating their more realistic, costed and planned alternative ideas. Meanwhile the lived-experience of normal people resident on the Island is roundly ignored by all of those claiming to… Read more »
Vix Lowthion
This is a fair response if the original proposal was ‘carefully costed and planned’. It wasn’t. The nature of media especially during an election is that when one party does a bold statement, to be fair to all parties, the media asks others to comment. That is proper and correct. Surprise surprise, the response will not always be positive and some responses may be more constructive in… Read more »
Benny C

Nobody ‘does’ a bold statement. They make a bold statement. Wannabes seeking voter support to elevate them into positions which confer authority to sign complex legal documents should be able to get their basic grammar right and inspire confidence. If the basic details aren’t right, the strategic thinking will be worse.

Benny C

Well said.

Rhos yr Alarch

Sadly, Pizza Express, shown on the map, is no longer open…

Benny C

It must be just about the only place in the U.K. where Pizza Express can’t make money. I hope that our Councillors reflect on this. They helped create these conditions.