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Strategic planning in the Medina Valley
Cowes Harbour Commission Newsletter
1st December 2015
Marine Employment Sites
The key to enabling future marine growth in the Solent will be the provision of suitable employment space. Cowes Harbour Commission's strategic policies therefore stress the importance to the harbour and local Isle of Wight economy of maintaining sustainable marine employment sites with all-tide access for the long-term benefit of all stakeholders.

However, some waterfront sites in the Isle of Wight's Medina Valley are coming under increasing pressure from competing land uses and a strategic approach that balances these competing demands is required.

As a result, CHC considers it is essential for the Isle of Wight Council, Solent LEP, Homes and Communities Agency and other involved parties to all work together to meet the objective of delivering long-term sustainable retention of marine employment sites with good water access.

I encourage you to read our lead story opposite, which also covers the important issues surrounding strategic planning in the Medina Valley. The full article can be viewed on our website, along with links to further relevant information.

Best regards,
Captain Stuart McIntosh
Cowes Harbour Master
Cowes Harbour moorings
Pontoon moorings in Cowes Harbour
CHC will be contacting all harbour mooring holders before the end of December with renewals information for 2016. In the meantime, if you have any queries, do get in touch with the Cowes Harbour Moorings team at Shepards Wharf on 01983 297821 or send an email to [email protected]
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Local Notices to Mariners
Sailors and boaters using Cowes Harbour are advised to regularly check Local Notices to Mariners.

Links to recent Notices:

No 26(T) of 2015: Breakwater Exclusion Zone Buoyage and Breakwater Works

Cowes Harbour Commissioners (CHC) share the concerns raised by stakeholders, including the Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee (CHAC), over current and proposed planning development applications and the retention of adequate waterfront employment sites in the Medina Valley.

At their October Board meeting, Commissioners considered the issues and challenges regarding the provision of sustainable marine employment sites with good all-tide access in the Medina Valley. Following detailed discussion, the Commissioners agreed to inform the Isle of Wight Council (IWC) and Solent LEP of the concerns of CHC and members of the stakeholder Harbour Advisory Committee and to confirm the Commission's policy on this major strategic planning and investment issue.


In its response to CHC, the Solent LEP reaffirmed that it recognises the importance of long-term sustainable provision of strategic marine employment sites in the Solent area and stated its commitment to ensuring that Local Planning Authorities are aware of the significance of waterfront sites to our world-class marine and maritime sector.


On 11th November, the IWC published its draft Medina Valley action plan for public consultation. The Medina Valley is a key regeneration area, and once adopted, the Medina Valley Plan will be a statutory development plan document used to determine planning applications in the area.


Commissioners discussed the Medina Valley Plan at their November Board meeting and agreed the importance of both CHC and the Harbour Advisory Committee giving consideration to this vital planning strategy document. Commissioners expressed their concern that the Medina Valley Plan may not adequately inform and address the concerns of both CHC and CHAC on the critical issue of protecting marine employment sites. In simple terms, CHC would like to see the Medina Valley Plan assist in answering the fundamental questions of how much land is potentially required for marine employment sites with all-tide access, where that land will be sited, and how it will be viably and sustainably delivered. Commissioners concluded that CHC should consult further with the CHAC and submit a formal response to the Medina Valley Plan consultation.

The Medina Estuary is a haven for some of Europe's rarest and most vulnerable migratory birds and the winter months are a great time to see them. The visiting birds that feed here throughout the winter are building up the vital energy supplies needed to power their onward migration at the end of the season.

Our ongoing wader roost project aims to safeguard and enhance an area of waterside habitat for the estuary's birds to use for roosting and loafing at high tide. Initially, the project involved securing the site and removing scrub and trees to provide an open sight line to the estuary from the field. Work will soon be underway to control the new growth of scrub and remove the tree stumps. In the next couple of years the site will be further enhanced by adding small scrapes for temporary ponds in the field and carrying out work at the water's edge to encourage the growth of saltmarsh.


If you are out and about over the winter months, see how many of our visitors you can spot!

As reported last month, Boskalis Westminster have finished the rock armouring on the Cowes Breakwater. The removal of surplus gravel material has been delayed due to the requirement for contractors to obtain a new MMO consent for its removal and disposal. The process of obtaining the MMO consent is likely to take around eight weeks, during which time the breakwater Exclusion Zone continues to remain in force.

New Cowes Breakwater - Image by Boskalis Westminster

The new harbour tidal model, commissioned by CHC from ABPmer, will now be utilised to optimise the next phases of planned harbour infrastructure, the Shrape extension and new Eastern Channel dredge.


Initial sedimentation surveys have been carried out to provide further data to assist an improved understanding of the Cowes Harbour baseline sedimentation budget. Following analysis, the results will be used in the sedimentation model for Cowes Harbour and the data will also assist with the development of the proposed new sustainable dredging management plan for the harbour and Medina Estuary.


Meanwhile, Shoreline Surveys has been appointed to carry out a full multi-beam survey of the whole harbour that will include all marinas and third-party owned areas where permission has been granted. CHC would like to thank stakeholders for their assistance and cooperation during the survey, which is due to be carried out this week.

'Love Where You Sail' 2015

As part of The Green Blue's Love Where You Sail initiative, in partnership with the Environment Agency and local harbours and marinas in the Solent area, The Green Blue are promoting an online survey to help them understand current behaviours and attitudes of boaters towards the disposal of blackwater or sewage from boats.

The survey should take about five minutes to complete and gives you the chance to enter a free prize draw to win four tickets to the Southampton Boat Show 2016. Click here to start the survey. The survey closes on 29th February 2016. Many thanks!

On 4th November 2015, a 20 metre converted wooden trawler foundered on her mooring at Medham, opposite CHC's Kingston Wharf site on the River Medina. Having been involved in the initial multi-agency response with the RNLI and Coastguard to establish the boat owner's safety and mitigate potential pollution risks, Cowes Harbour Commission then took on the planning of the salvage in consultation with the vessel's owner.

A familiar team of Kingston Marine Services, MMC Divers, and Seaflex was convened and plans made to raise the vessel at the next suitable set of tides. Challenging conditions and zero underwater visibility on site meant that the complex operation to float the vessel took place over two days. The salvage was successfully accomplished and the vessel taken to a drying berth at Kingston Wharf.

As a footnote to this story, we would like to advise all Cowes Harbour mooring holders to check that their boat insurance is current and includes wreck removal insurance cover, since not only is it a requirement of the harbour mooring holder's license, but if your boat is uninsured, a salvage operation similar to the one described above could set you back in the region of 10,000 or more!

Have your views heard at the CHAC

The next Cowes Harbour Advisory Committee (CHAC) meeting will be held on Thursday, 10th December. All harbour and river users are encouraged to contact their CHAC representatives or send an email direct to [email protected] with any comments or issues to be brought to the attention of the Committee for discussion at the meeting.

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