A year after the planning application was first placed, the Cowes Outer Harbour Project has been granted consent for all its marine plans

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Plans to build a new marina and breakwater in East Cowes are one step closer to being realised, following the announcement that consents for all the marine aspects of the Cowes Outer Harbour Project have been granted by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).

The Cowes Outer Harbour Project (OHP) is a partnership between the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and Cowes Harbour Commission.

Plans include building a new marina that is better geared for hosting large boating events, the creation of a second navigation channel, and the provision of a new outer breakwater to offer better protection and improve the wave climate within the harbour.

Consents have now been granted for all the dredging and piling work, as well as the building of the breakwater. Plans for the new marina, a 60-bed hotel and all other terrestrial elements are subject to planning permission.

Announcing his support of the project, Roger Mathias, chairman of Cowes Harbour Commissioners, said,

“This will transform Cowes into a sheltered harbour protecting harbour users and improving safety. It will release potential for business diversity and waterborne activities for the wider communities.

“We strongly believe this to be the most important single event in the future development of the harbour, bringing significant benefit to the West and East Cowes communities.”

SEEDA initially submitted the planning application in July 2009 and since then it has worked closely with the Isle of Wight Council and the MMO, to ensure the tidal impact in the harbour and the Medina River have been taken into account.

SEEDA now awaits tender applications from three shortlisted companies, Marina Developments Limited, Premier Marinas and Sutton Harbour Holdings.

SEEDA hopes to present the planning application for all the outstanding aspects of the project to the planning committee in September. If all the appropriate consents are given, work on the first phase could begin in 2012.