Find out --> Who wants your vote <-- on 4th May

Letter: East Cowes has ‘clearly become a battle ground for developers’

East Cowes town councillor, Karl Love, is worried the town has become the battle ground for developers on the Island and its townspeople are getting caught up in the middle.

norris castle

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers – unsurprisingly they don’t always reflect the views of this publication. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch and of course, your considered comments are welcome below. This from Cllr Karl Love, East Cowes. Ed

Speaking personally, I wanted to thank everyone who attended the Norris Castle and Spring Hill planning consultation meeting on Thursday. It certainly raised a few eyebrows. More wider consultations will follow.

As you will see the government is also debating green belt building issues in Parliament. This is very relevant to our Island and we watch with interest on how our local MP, Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Andrew Turner, performs!

Norris and Spring Hill estates are surrounded by historic parklands, grade 1 listed areas, conservation areas and green belt. Although they are not currently accessible to the public, they are valuable asserts to our towns people.

Have your say
It’s important for everyone to get involved, whatever your opinions, have your say. To be fair to the owners of Norris, they are at least engaging early in consultation with local people, even if some of their ideas are not agreeable.

I think democratic discussion and community engagement has finally arrived in East Cowes. Red Funnel could learn so much from this approach, as I hope others who intend to developed our town will.

Prop up the council coffers
I find it disappointing, as announced at the Norris consultation meeting, that Isle of Wight council have been in discussion with the developers behind closed doors for many months.

Perhaps they smell the money of developers which may help prop up the coffers of the Island’s failing budgets!

It looks like our council, as I have stated before, see East Cowes as its piggy bank saviour!

Floating Bridge cash cow
Yet, they also propose to punish East Cowes people for their own council budget failures by increasing the foot passenger crossing to £1.50.

That’s pretty bad news for our town business community and the workers who’s rely on the Floating Bridge crossing. It further divides and restricts community access on both sides of the river.

It’s a disproportionately unfair tax distribution onto the shoulders of the people of Cowes. The floating bridge makes lots of money for the Isle of Wight council and now they suggest a greedy stealth tax which disadvantages a small part of the Island population.

Battle ground for developers
East Cowes has clearly become the battle ground for developers on the Island and its townspeople are caught up in the middle.

Make sure you have your say, contact all your local councillors, the press and make your comments known.

Location map
View the location of this story.

Saturday, 11th February, 2017 9:22am



Filed under: East Cowes, Island-wide, Letter to the Editor, Planning

Print Friendly



  1. Karl, as my local councillor. Could you please tell me where this meeting was advertised. It is not mentioned on the E.Cowes website. I did not notice it in the County Press, nor hear about on I.W. radio.
    How many residents attended? and how many E.Cowes Councillors?

  2. Luisa Hillard

    11.Feb.2017 11:48am

    It is not unusual for the Council to provide pre-planning application advice, so I would have to disagree with accusations linked to that, or indeed that there is bias due to financial gain.

    This is not yet a ‘live’ planning application, so public consultation has not yet started. This meeting was a courtesy to residents who would be directly affected by works traffic and commercial traffic, should the application be successful.

    When the official consultation starts it will be well advertised, with local events in East Cowes for everyone to view the plans and lodge an informed comment.

    Cllr Love is correct that East Cowes is undergoing a lot of development and that there are many changes likely to happen which not all residents will be happy with.

  3. Luisa Hillard

    11.Feb.2017 11:51am

    I would also add that ‘Council budget failures’ are caused by the government repeatedly cutting funding for local services, combined with increasing costs in adult social care.

  4. So here we go again a property developer buys Norris castle and the convent at spring hill and then has secrete talks with the IOW council about building more homes in East Cowes. I wonder how many people knew about this meting ? apart from those councillor’s involved ?,why all the secrets from EC town council or IOW council ,is it because there is to much housing already in EC. Hawthorn meadows building has slowed down and frankly looks a mess down by the river. With the amount of land that makes up Norris and Spring hill about 350/400 acres how many houses can you put on this land or will they be very large houses overlooking osborn bay that most people will not be able to afford . All i can say Karl is thank you for letting the people of EC know about this.EC has a doctors surgery that is under pressure now what will it be like with more housing?.All our local schools are also under pressure. who will pay for new school building’s ? and will we have more full time doctor’s in our surgery?

    • Luisa Hillard

      12.Feb.2017 12:01pm

      Housing developers make a S106 contribution towards education at a fee per house. This is used to build new classrooms.

      However, the Medina Valley Area Action Plan states that no new large scale housing should be built in East Cowes, other than that which already has planning permission.

      What we will likely see at Norris Castle is enabling development to fund the restoration of the main building. Such situations are common where there are historic buildings at risk and it is uneconomic to to restore them for investment purposes. Same thing was approved for the Frank James Hospital.

  5. Just a thought the council should not have more preplanning talks until the work that is needed to put Norris castle back in good order is carried out by this developer ?

  6. I think you’ll find that honour goes to Ryde

  7. How about opening up East Cowes sea front to the public again! The’slip’ could easily be removed to make a footpath access to Castle Point. But it is remarkably close to the proposed new developments giving additional waterside access!

    • Luisa Hillard

      12.Feb.2017 8:50pm

      Having badgered officers on this issue for the past few years I can assure you that the slip could not be ‘easily removed’. The whole hillside is unstable and needs substantial reinforcement before the slip can be disturbed. Should more fall the sewage plant above could be affected.

      • Hello Lisa and Karl. When s Planning Issue as far reaching as this gets on the Town Council Agenda, I think it is the responsibility of Councillors, elected by the public to look after their interests, flag this up.
        Most people in the town only heard about it through Karl’s letter to ONTW after the event.
        Regarding the slip; there is really no reason why it can’t be made into a footpath.
        This is the first slip I’ve known of on the East Cowes sea front since the 1950’s!
        It’s closed off, it’s all very conveinient for the developers don’t you think!!

        • Islander:

          The only thing stopping a footpath from being made through the landslip area is the cost of doing it!

          Whatever the costs are to do that – say, clear away from the seawall end a pathway of about two metres wide and then sloping off away from the sea to avoid further earth slippage when the *gap* is put in – why not ask EC Town Council to pay for it…..?

          Open up discussions with the IOW Council over doing it and offer to pay…. seems a sensible solution?

        • Luisa Hillard

          21.Feb.2017 7:24pm

          Islander, I am assuming you were talking to me. This story has slightly misrepresented the situation. To be clear: there is no planning application at this current time! Therefore it has not been submitted to the Isle of Wight Council, nor been subject to public consultation, nor been on a Town Council planning agenda.

          The actual situation is that the developers wanted quiet chats with local councillors and their ‘neigbours’ to identify any issues that would be likely to raise objection. With such early feedback they can then consider tweaking their plans before submission.

          In my opinion it is not appropriate to make public statements about proposed developments prior to submission. There is a danger of being seen to pre-judge, without full information.

          • Sally Perry

            21.Feb.2017 7:53pm

            Just for clarity, in case there was any confusion with this being a news article, this is a Letter to the Editor from a reader.

          • Hello Luisa
            Thanks for clarifying the issues as always. However with such a potentily far breaching effect on the town and its people, I’m not sure how Councillors can be sure they are up to speed with local views without canvasing them by advertising the agenda of the Town Council Meeting.
            We aren’t talking a small development here, but something massive that will change the nature of the town.
            But going back to the slip; can we be sure the slip wasn’t started off by spillage? We’ll never know. But to be constructive how about the Town Council calling a meeting to discuss volunteer Labour clearing the slip to provide a footpath. There would of course need to be supervision to ensure a suitable footpath was marked out and followed. That would be good for community spirit

  8. Even better, maybe the wealthy land owners of Norris, Osborne and Barton Manor could donate some land for a coastal path between E.Cowes and Wootton Creek.

    • Wouldn’t that be great?!

      The lack of coastal path along this section of the IW coast is chronically obvious on the OS map and it would be great if this was possible.

      It’s not even like the land needs to be donated – it’s just the establishment of a new right of way across it.

      No doubt English Heritage would be the biggest blocker of such a scheme…

    • mark francis wdp

      13.Feb.2017 12:19am

      I spoke to someone at Osborne House (sometime ago I admit) who said it was their job to run down to the waterside to chase away stray yachtspersons. With that attitude I wouldn’t hold out much hope of English Heritage promoting our, like…heritage.

  9. Mariner58

    12.Feb.2017 1:22pm

    From the IW Council website according to the 2011 census there were 138265 permanent IW residents of all ages and 67606 permanent dwellings, the majority 2 or 3 bedroom properties with an average of 605 dwellings built each year since.
    Simple arithmetic then gives an average a 2 residents per dwelling.
    Who are the people who are going to buy these new developments and, perhaps more importantly, where are they going to get the money?

  10. East Cowes

    12.Feb.2017 1:32pm

    More houses need more roads. So where are they going to build a new road out of East Cowes?

    • I was told today that at the meting it was asked by the developer if it would be possible to build a new road from the southern water entrance on the sea front if he could purchase the land

  11. I can’t wait to see the new Norris Castle development – it will be great to see some life breathed into the place again. It will employ a lot of local people. My main concern is the track record of the developer. As for EH , I have it on very good authority that they will not allow access across their land for the coastal path. Maybe Sally can email the general manager at OH and ask him. I also heard Barton Manor will likewise prevent access.

  12. electrickery

    13.Feb.2017 10:40am

    On what authority do they (EH/HE) “not allow access”? I thought these bodies existed to hold the assets in trust for the nation. Perhaps we are all just too pikey to be allowed to sully their lovely grass.
    As for Barton Manor (private property) and then Kings Quay (SSSI and Lord knows what other spurious protections), well, plenty of scope for lawyers to take fat fees finding ways to exclude Joe Public there.


Add comment

Login to your account.
If you do not have an account, reserve your own name and receive exclusive special offers - just sign up for an On The Wight account