Isle of Wight Council unveil site plans for Shanklin SPA
A climbing wall and the ‘first apartment hotel on the island’ are among long-awaited plans to replace a derelict building and car park on Shanklin Esplanade.
The prominent location – known as the SPA site – has become an ‘eye-sore’ in recent years, with calls for Isle of Wight Council do something with it.
Now senior cabinet members are being asked to approve the freehold sale to a preferred, unnamed bidder, who is an Isle of Wight developer “with a proven track record”, according to cabinet papers.
Scroll down to see what it might look like…
The recommended proposal, which would still require planning permission, includes:
- A 30-room “apart-hotel” — hotel rooms equipped with kitchens and living areas offering short- or long-term accommodation, the “first on the island”;
- 14 private apartments with parking;
- Up to four ground floor leisure, retail or commercial units;
- A public climbing wall on the existing cliff holds back the narrowing;
- The redevelopment of the seven arches into offices or workshops;
- A common garden area;
- 40 paid public parking spaces
Isle of Wight Council said the proposal would create a ‘vibrant focal point’ for the town’s esplanade, for people of all ages, as well as business opportunities and around 50 jobs.
As part of the agreement, there would either be an affordable housing contribution or the possibility of improving the revetment walk between Shanklin and Sandown.
Shanklin Town Council was consulted on the plans last month (May), with many of its members in favor of development.
At the meeting, Isle of Wight council officials said the plan “ticks a lot of regeneration boxes” and that those behind the scheme “can’t wait to get started”.
Shanklin Mayor Cllr Chris Quirk said impressions were good and would be much better than the current site.
However, the town councilors are afraid of being too optimistic because the previous development plans have fallen through.
Shanklin’s central councilor Adrian Whittaker said if the project does not go ahead, Isle of Wight council ‘should tidy up the whole site as it is an eyesore and stains the landscape “.
There was also concern about the loss of parking spaces for coaches.
The Cabinet will discuss the matter by meeting next week, Thursday June 17, potentially in private, due to the commercial nature of the offer.
Isle of Wight Council Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Julie Jones-Evans, said she believed the proposal would bring a great improvement to the historic esplanade.
She said: “The old building at the back of the current car park will finally be demolished and replaced with amenities that will be more attractive to look at and use, and bring more commercial prosperity to this part of town.
“We are well aware of the need for new housing and start-up commercial space all over the island, and this development offers both.
“It will also provide the first purpose-built aparthotel on the island and a greater sense of place for visitors and residents.
“I expect the development to create an active and attractive frontage on the esplanade and healthy activity opportunities for all ages.
“Since the loss of Shanklin Pier, the area of the Spa site has remained moot, and I am very pleased to now be able to recommend such a strong proposal to the firm to address it.”