The developers of the new Victoria Marina waterfront in East Cowes on the Isle of Wight have begun preparations for the commencement of the project following the recent completion of the new outer breakwater by Cowes Harbour Commission.

Arrangements are now being put in place to secure the developers’ contribution towards the funding of the remaining phase of the harbour infrastructure works, including the extension of the Shrape breakwater and the dredging of the new eastern access channel.

The long-planned redevelopment of the former GKN Aerospace site and the waterfront to the north of the Red Funnel terminal is one of the final, major, remaining pieces in the £200million East Cowes Masterplan incorporating part of the Solent Gateways project.

The scheme will contribute significantly to the long-term vision of the Isle of Wight Council, East Cowes Town Council and the Homes & Communities Agency for this area of East Cowes, which aims to promote regeneration and economic growth in the town and improve the Island’s links to the mainland.

The project has been made possible by the completion of the outer breakwater, and will comprise a new marina and major shoreside development, to be named Victoria Quay in recognition of the area’s historic royal connections.

Development partners Camper & Nicholsons Marinas and Westcourt Real Estate are working with architects Conran & Partners on drawing up plans for various renovation, conversion and new-build works. This will see the creation of new residential and hospitality  properties alongside the regeneration of the Columbine Building and Victoria Barracks, arranged around the new marina and within an extensively landscaped setting.

Under the plans for the Victoria Quay development, the Columbine Building – famous for sporting the world’s largest Union Jack – will undergo a phased refurbishment and will house a variety of marine-based operations under the overall tenancy of Camper and Nicholsons Marinas. It will also provide office space for a number of other local and international businesses.

Sir Christopher Lewinton, chairman of Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, said: ‘East Cowes has a long tradition as host to the Royal Family with their deep passion for the Island, and more latterly to the many tourists and business people who pass through this busy island gateway. Our plans for Victoria Quay will build upon that distinguished past while bringing new impetus to the area as a centre of employment in the marine and associated service sectors.

‘We will create new public amenities and an attractive place to visit and for the people who live there. And we are delighted to be re-establishing a long awaited operational presence in the UK for Camper & Nicholsons.’

David Margason, managing director of Westcourt, added: ‘Our aim is to deliver a comprehensive regeneration to fulfill the long-held plans for East Cowes, transforming the area for the benefit of local residents, businesses, visitors and the town as a whole.

‘The plans for Victoria Quay will allow for a new, landscaped square centered on the Victoria Barracks, with new family and visitor amenities set against the backdrop of the 400 berth marina. The project will also deliver a range of open market and affordable homes.

‘We anticipate that the project will create significant direct and indirect long-term jobs in the marine and associated sectors, and a much needed boost for the construction industry during its development phase. Together with the wider and evolving landscape of Cowes as a whole, Victoria Quay will help the town enhance its brand and maintain a competitive position as a world-class sailing centre and one of the pre-eminent visitor destinations in the south of England.’

As an integral part of the Solent Gateways project, which brings together a variety of public and private partners for its delivery, the development will benefit from the planned rationalisation and expansion of the adjacent Red Funnel facilities, which represent a marked improvement in the Island’s transport infrastructure and a more rational integration of this amenity within East Cowes.

The development will also enjoy the benefits of the recently introduced Scoot Ferries services to and from Cowes, another integral part of the wider initiative to make Cowes a more accessible and desirable destination.