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Kingston Wharf regeneration plans

18 November 2020
Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee supports CHC plans to redevelop Kingston Wharf in East Cowes as a marine focused industrial estate. 

Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) has had a harbour workshop at the Kingston Wharf site in East Cowes since 2000, then leased and developed the boatyard operation in 2004 and acquired the site and wharf in 2012. The 10-acre waterfront marine employment site is home to the Cowes Harbour Services Boatyard, Commercial Marine Operations, and Self-Storage facility, as well as a number of onsite independent business tenants.

The last two years have seen significant changes with the departure of the two largest commercial tenants. Initially, Isle of Wight Aggregates took the decision to consolidate their operations onto their existing site in Cowes, and recently, Isle of Wight Fuels ceased their fuel import business by ship to Kingston Wharf. These commercial decisions by independent companies involved in bulk shipping and supply to the Isle of Wight will have significant implications for the harbour and are likely to result in the need to adjust strategic planning for the harbour and the Island.

The former aggregates site and wharf has been marketed for a couple of years but without significant resulting interest. CHC has therefore been considering alternative and strategically beneficial opportunities for further developing the potential of the Kingston site with its all-tide deep-water access and wharfage. As a result, CHC commissioned a feasibility plan from a project manager led team of architects and civil and structural engineers to investigate the potential for partial redevelopment as a marine business park and boatyard facility to re-establish the long-term viability of the site.

Artist's impression of proposed Kingston Wharf development
2. Artist's impression of proposed Kingston Wharf development. Click image to download PDF.

Due to a strategic shortage of marine based industrial accommodation on both sides of the River Medina and in the Solent region, the CHC Kingston project team considers there is an opportunity to redevelop parts of the Kingston Wharf site to attract new commercial marine tenants. An outline plan has been developed that maximises the potential of the site in terms of new development, whilst also retaining CHC’s existing Boatyard storage facility on the middle terrace. The design allows for a larger hoist to be accommodated, should this be required in the future. Although outline at this stage, the development would create additional commercial units, with seven starter units on the upper terrace and four larger units on the lower terrace.

Artist's impression of proposed Kingston Wharf development
3. Artist's impression of proposed Kingston Wharf development. Click image to download PDF.

At the CHC Board meeting in October, Commissioners reviewed the latest proposals for the regeneration and redevelopment of Kingston Wharf and agreed a recommendation to consult with the Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee (CHAC) prior to commencing the process for seeking outline planning permission from the Isle of Wight Council. The Board also agreed to progress the initial estimate costings into detailed costings and acknowledged that the scheme will have a funding shortfall that would require some form of grant funding support. CHC acknowledges that the development may need to be delivered in phases based on the business plan, which is being progressed, and the funding situation.

Kingston Wharf proposed site plan
4. Kingston Wharf proposed site plan. Click image to download PDF.

The initial phased development is likely to be driven by the new income revenue that can be achieved by expanding the boat storage facilities onto the lower terrace and utilising the two wharves for larger vessels and the potential addition of pontoons. There is also capacity to increase the size and number of boats that can be lifted by investing in an additional hoist for small vessels and in time increasing the size of the current hoist.

The subsequent phases will see the construction of the new commercial units where there is proven demand from occupiers. The first step is to make this strategic intention clear by submitting an outline planning application to enable CHC to react to market demand. CHC believes this is the right time to make this commitment to regenerate Kingston Wharf, for the benefit of the whole River Medina and port of Cowes.


Notes to Editors

Cowes Harbour Commission
(CHC) is the statutory harbour authority for Cowes Harbour on the Isle of Wight. The Commission's vision, strategic objectives and guiding policies for the future of Cowes Harbour are set out in its Strategic Plan 2016-2021: Mid-Term Review 2019.

Cowes Harbour is a Trust Port, which means it has no shareholders or other owners, but is managed for the benefit of its users, or ‘stakeholders’. The port is run by an independent Board of Commissioners, appointed through a public selection process, who give their time on a voluntary basis.

Cowes Harbour Commission's main function is to be the Statutory Harbour Authority for Cowes and to undertake commercial marine activities so that it can be self-financing. As the Commission has no shareholders, any surplus funds raised through its activities are reinvested back into the harbour and its facilities, to the benefit of its harbour users, or ‘stakeholders’.

1. Artist’s impression of proposed Kingston Wharf development PDF. (Top header image)
2. Artist’s impression of proposed Kingston Wharf development PDF.
3. Artist's impression of proposed Kingston Wharf development PDF.
High resolution jpeg copies available on request to
4. Kingston Wharf proposed site plan PDF.

Media Contact:
Louisa Mamakou, Communications & Marketing Officer, Cowes Harbour Commission, Harbour Office, Town Quay, Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7AS. Email:

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