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Major revamp for Cowes harbour

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) has announced a significant investment in the renovation of Cowes Harbour on the Isle of Wight.

A £6 million project designed to deliver major infrastructure improvements at the facility has been put forward, including the construction of a new 400-metre stone breakwater barrier at the harbour's entrance to protect vessels from high winds and tidal pressures.

Aimed at supporting the island's marine economy and tourism market, the scheme will enable the extension of the Isle of Wight sailing season, ensuring vessels are able to access the harbour even in adverse weather.

In addition, it is hoped there will be a trickle down impact on local retailers and business owners, as more visitors will be able to get to the island throughout the year, bolstering sales for restaurants, cafes, hotels and other local attractions.

Colin Molton, HCA executive director for the south and south-west, said: "This investment has clear benefits for an important local project and the wider economy, by securing employment, extra investment and keeping an internationally renowned sailing venue firmly on the map.

"This is a strong signal of our commitment to the Isle of Wight."

Chief executive of Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) and Cowes harbour master captain Stuart McIntosh added the scheme will begin to unlock the full potential of the facility, making it a true sheltered harbour and year-round destination for tourists.

In the pipeline for more than 50 years, Mr McIntosh noted the announcement that the project will finally get underway will undoubtedly strengthen the future of Cowes and the economy of the island as a whole. 

"It starts a new cycle of investment in Cowes and East Cowes that will directly support our existing marine sector," he added.

Funding for the project is to be split 50/50 between the HCA and CHC at approximately £3 million each, with preliminary construction work at the site now scheduled to get underway later this year. The project is expected to take around 12 months to complete. 

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