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Isle of Wight planners will use Commercial Frontages Design Guide to inform future decisions

Newport and Ryde Commercial Frontages Design Guide has been adopted as an official supplementary planning document and from now on it will be used to decide all future permissions for shops, pubs and other commercial building frontages.

A Heritage Action Zone initiative, the guide was compiled for shopkeepers, building owners, designers, planners, councillors, and anyone else involved in caring for shops and other commercial buildings in Ryde and Newport town centres.

The design guide sets a new standard for commercial properties in our town centres, ensuring the frontage of shops, pubs and other buildings enhances the conservation area. It will help protect and enhance historic features that contribute to the character of our town centres, preserving our heritage for future generations. 

It also looks to the future and gives guidance on adapting buildings to new uses while ensuring they still make a positive contribution to the street scene. The guide is designed to be accessible to everyone while also useful to building design professionals.

Martin Gibson, Newport & Ryde High Street Heritage Action Zone Programme Manager, explained:  “Regeneration of our High Streets in Newport and Ryde is crucial for their future and our new Design Guide will play a key role in helping to keep them vibrant and relevant. 

“We are particularly pleased that the document has now been officially recognised and will be used to decide future planning permissions. The design guide will help building owners and their advisors to improve shopfronts and other commercial frontages, so they enhance the conservation area and create streets that look great,” he said.

Commenting on the guide’s acceptance as a supplementary planning document, Planning Team Leader at Isle of Wight Council, James Brewer, said: “The adoption of the design guide as a Supplementary Planning Document will result in the council being able to use the detailed guidance within the document as clear and consistent advice in relation to the redesign and refurbishment of commercial frontages within Newport and Ryde. 

“This will help support the objectives of the Heritage Action Zone projects in both towns and provide clarity for property owners when considering investment and refurbishment projects.”

Conservation Officer at Isle of Wight Council, Lee Byrne, explained the document would help to protect the character of the Heritage Action Zones in both Ryde and Newport as well as help manage change positively in other areas across the Island.

“It’s important to have clear and accessible guidelines so that alterations are sympathetic to the building and conservation area but in a manner that is also practical for the way we live now,” he explained.

Isle of Wight Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, Cabinet member for Levelling-up, Regeneration, Business Development and Tourism, said: “Newport and Ryde have many historic shop fronts remaining and also many have had unsympathetic alterations, detracting from the  built environment. 

“As the local member for Newport Central, over the years I have been frustrated with our limited powers to protect our unlisted heritage. So I particularly welcome having this new tool in the planning box, it will be essential to help guide future development contribute in a positive way. “

There’s been much talk about the future for high streets and how important the look of our town centre streets is to the future success of our towns. 

The Design Guide shows how we can build on the history of our important commercial centres and make them enticing and relevant for future generations to enjoy.

Louise Dandy, Historic Places Advisor for Historic England, added: “By making the shop fronts in Ryde and Newport as attractive as possible, we can help to keep our High Street vibrant and attract more independent shops. 

“We want the High Street to be a place that people choose to spend time there, not just pop-in and leave. Having the Newport and Ryde Commercial Frontages Design Guide officially adopted will help both the property owners seeking planning permission and the planners to reach the right decision. ”

The guide is easy to access, with topline general information and more technical advice for architects and crafts people to follow. We have an interactive web version or you can download the full guide as a PDF.