Following consultation with Natural England, Cowes Harbour Commission is applying to vary the existing dredge consents for the next phases of the Outer Harbour Project, the Eastern Channel dredge and Shrape extension.

The application comes after Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has agreed the final Outer Harbour Project (OHP) design layout with the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and their development partners Camper & Nicholsons and Westcourt Real Estate.

This dredge application will include the additional harbour dredge areas to improve the safety of navigation along the eastern perimeter of the Inner Fairway and the removal of the shoal off No 1. buoy, as well as the increase to the depth of the mooring basin inside the Cowes Breakwater.

The finalised OHP layout aims to boost safety of navigation in the Small Craft Channel by including the following:

Optimised Outer Harbour Project layout Sept 2016

New Eastern Channel (Small Craft Channel)
• Increased width to 42 metres minimum
• Moved further eastwards away from the Cowes Breakwater
• Alignment amended to straighten channel
• Extension of new Eastern Channel/Small Craft Channel southwards, parallel to the new HCA marina and Inner Fairway to provide a secondary small boat channel

Detailed negotiations are still ongoing with the HCA, their partners, and CHC’s potential contractors, with a view to carrying out phases 2 and 3 of the harbour infrastructure (Shrape extension and Eastern Channel), plus the HCA marina dredge, from mid-January through to mid-May 2017.

However, this is still reliant on CHC concluding the ‘Harbour Infrastructure Funding Agreement’ with the HCA and their developers that will enable the funding stream to flow for the phase 2 and 3 works, and for the HCA to complete on the current conditional agreement with their East Cowes development partners.

Captain Stuart McIntosh, Cowes Harbour Master, said: ‘I am very pleased to report that the optimised layout for the proposed Eastern Channel and Shrape extension has been finalised following consultation with the project partners, Advisory Committee and harbour users.

‘It is now hoped that the outline project timeline should see the dredging works and construction of the Shrape extension commence in January 2017.’