A new plan to help enhance the architectural and historical features of Sandown, tackle some of the town’s worst derelict sites and improve the public realm, has been published today (Thursday).
The Isle of Wight Council, working with Sandown Town Council, has launched the Sandown Conservation Area Management Plan, following public consultation, community engagement events, and contributions from stakeholder groups.
The plan includes:
. recording the current condition of buildings in the conservation area;
. appointing ‘Historic Environment Champions’ to raise the profile and awareness of conservation issues; identifying redundant or harmful . . signage; tackling some of the worst vacant or harmful sites;
. creating public realm improvements, including planters and working with Green Town Volunteers; promoting an annual awards scheme for building projects and environmental improvements;
. supporting a maintenance week to improve the appearance of the public realm.
The management plan focuses on the conservation area but, similar to the Bay Place Plan, aims to support the regeneration of the wider Bay area.
Councillor Paul Fuller, Cabinet member for planning, said: “This management plan focuses and seeks clarity on the town’s conservation area whilst providing an exciting opportunity moving forward for Sandown.
“At the same time, it enables the Isle of Wight Council to work in partnership with Sandown Town Council addressing concerns raised relating to those areas categorised ‘at risk’ within English Heritage’s Risk Register.”
According to the report, no-one could have foreseen the closure of a string of hotels along the High Street and Culver Parade.
But their closure, along with the demolition of the Savoy Apartments, as well as being an economic loss to the town, has blighted the character of the conservation area.
And while there have been improvements to some residential properties, the report says more work is needed.
It acknowledges the enforcement being carried out by the council but says this should also include the development, reuse and restoration of key buildings, with a specific focus on bringing vacant upper floors back into residential use.
The report concludes, above all, the future improvement and management of the conservation area is a shared responsibility.
The Mayor of Sandown, Councillor Alex Lightfoot, said: “We value the Isle of Wight Council listening to the concerns raised with some of the bigger challenges, such as vacant and derelict buildings requiring costly and time consuming legal action.
“We can make more immediate progress on initiatives such as our Accessible Changing Places project, which has secured external funding.”
Sandown Library will be displaying the plan with a transcribed copy of the plan available from the reception desk. The plan can also be downloaded from the Isle of Wight Council’s website.