Newport Harbour

Ash Sakula was appointed by the Isle of Wight Council to develop a masterplanning framework for Newport Harbour, in the dead centre of the island, at the most southerly navigable point of the Medina Estuary.

For most of Newport’s history it was the economic gateway to the town and the focus of the town’s trade. Today it is a shadow of its former self, in slow decline since the development of the island’s rail and road networks.

Today, the harbour area is a somewhat sleepy and peripheral annexe to the town centre, cut off from the town by an elevated road viaduct. Activity is limited to small pockets of maritime use, a few boats, some residential streets, allotments, a hotel, a co-working hub, a couple of pubs, an arts centre and a day care centre. However, there are some good old buildings with which to anchor future regeneration, and a number of economic growth points which could underpin development.

Our task was to propose an evidence-based, people-centred spatial masterplan, We undertook a thorough analysis to identify opportunities to densify and maximise the land use, open it up to new visitors and create new homes. Tidal patterns, land ownership, site connectivity, economic activity, flood risk, the town’s existing development strategies and the possibility of new river crossings all came within the scope of the study.

We developed three options, low, medium and high, for development, all of which envisaged an incremental regeneration approach starting with interim uses to build interest and confidence in the area.

Aerial views of the three options for development:

Option 1 restricts itself to land already in the public ownership.

Option 2 makes strategic interventions requiring additional land assembly.

Option 3 is transformative, optimising the site's potential.

An annotated plan of development Option 3, which provides 471 new homes including 163 affordable, 800 jobs, new boat moorings, an entirely new public realm, a pedestrian bascule bridge, a water taxi service to and from Cowes and a 474 space car park surrounded by co-working uses.

Option 3: views downriver towards Cowes and upriver towards Newport town centre.

Quayside market colonnade with apartments over.

Captain Jack's wharf - holiday homes on the water.

Floating market, an interim use that could become permanent.

Ash Sakula drawings photos
Ash Sakula drawings photos
Ash Sakula drawings photos
Ash Sakula drawings photos

Client: Isle of Wight Council

Collaborators: Imagine Places, Civic Engineers, P3r, Inner Circle, 31 Ten.

Appointment: March 2017

The situation: Newport is bottom left, to the north of it is East and West Cowes, top right. The Medina River flows between them. Newport Harbour is immediately north of Newport at the highest navigable point of the estuary.

Read more about the thinking behind this project:

Newport Harbour as was.

Conversion of an historic warehouse into apartments.

Interim urbanism: a railway carriage repurposed as a café restaurant.

Mudlarking: drama and circus used as part of the process of placemaking

Residential typologies