The completion of the construction phase of the £2.2 million Ventnor fair-weather haven project will be marked by its official opening on 7 August by James Brathwaite, CBE, Chairman of the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA). Construction work on the exciting haven project commenced in November 2002 when the contract was awarded to Raymond Brown Construction Ltd of Ringwood, Hampshire. Completed in approximately six months the construction phase of the haven, which involved the import of barge loads of limestone armourstone from France, provided a focal point of interest on Ventnor seafront during the winter for both residents and visitors alike. The haven, which has been funded by SEEDA, Defra and the Isle of Wight Council, aims to fulfil a number of key ambitions to benefit the town of Ventnor. These include:

  • The provision of a fair-weather haven for visiting craft which provides the only stopping-off point along the south coast of the Isle of Wight, as well as a new access facility for local boat owners, anglers and other interest groups;
  • 22 March, 2013 iency of the local shellfisheries industry which currently operates from Ventnor amenity beach;
  • The walkway along the western arm of the haven providing a form of replacement for the former Ventnor Pier and allowing spectacular views along the Undercliff coastline and back over the town of Ventnor;
  • Encourage regeneration both on Ventnor seafront and in the town.

Councillor Terry Butchers, Executive Spokesperson for Coastal Issues, said "Everyone is delighted with the appearance of Ventnor haven. I believe it fits very well with the Undercliff coastline and I am sure it will prove a great benefit to the economy of the town of Ventnor. I know that there have been many favourable comments on the overall appearance of the haven and the professional way in which the construction work has been undertaken."

Robin McInnes, the Island's Coastal Manager, said "Finding the necessary funding for the haven and resolving a wide range of issues including environmental studies relating to the important marine environment have proved challenging. However, through joint working with the key agencies including English Nature and the Environment Agency, it has been possible to complete the scheme without detriment to the environment and ensuring that there is no net loss of important inter-tidal habitat. In my opinion the haven is a realistic size for the town of Ventnor, taking account of the user requirements, the funding available and the landscape and environmental issues. We are now looking forward to moving into the operational phase and we shall be marketing the haven widely drawing on our experiences gained during its operation for the remainder of this summer and during the winter period."

Funding for the haven was gained following a successful bid by the Isle of Wight Economic Partnership from the Government's Challenge Fund (Single Regeneration Budget Round Two). Other initiatives in the town of Ventnor benefiting from the successful bid included a financial contribution towards the development of the Isle of Wight Coastal Visitors' Centre at Salisbury Gardens and the town centre conservation area shopfront scheme. The majority of the funding for the haven was provided by the South-East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and a contribution was also obtained from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as the harbour arms will provide protection to a section of Victorian seawall along the Eastern Esplanade that had not benefited from upgrading at the time of the other coastal improvement works along the Ventnor frontage. The remainder of the cost has been funded by the Isle of Wight Council. Ventnor haven is one of a number of major coastal infrastructure projects that have been undertaken recently or are in prospect. Other schemes include the £4 million coast protection scheme at Seaview Duver which is currently under construction, the coastal highway stabilisation works on the A3055 Military Road between Brook and Freshwater and highway works along the A3055 Undercliff Drive at Niton. Further major works comprising coast protection and slope drainage at Castlehaven, Niton, are planned following receipt of tenders in early August. E N D For further Information please contact: Peter Marsden on (01983) 857220 or e-mail

A £2.4 million scheme to construct a fair-weather haven adjacent to Ventnor Esplanade on the south coast of the Isle of Wight is nearing completion. The project, which has been commissioned by the Isle of Wight Council's Centre for the Coastal Environment, has been designed by consultants Posford Haskoning and constructed by Raymond Brown Construction Ltd of Ringwood. The haven, which was funded jointly by the Council, Defra and the Government's Challenge Fund (Single Regeneration Budget) aims to fulfil three main functions : * To provide a valuable additional amenity that will contribute to the regeneration of Ventnor seafront and the town. * To provide improved handling facilities for the local shellfisheries industry. * To provide an improved level of coast protection for Ventnor's Eastern Esplanade. The haven, which comprises a substantial western breakwater and a shorter eastern arm, both constructed of rock armourstone, provides access from an easterly direction.

The main arm is providing shelter from the prevailing south-westerly waves. The Council is currently seeking funding for the provision of further facilities within the haven including landing stages and improvements to the existing slipway. It is also hoped to provide eight deep-water moorings in a line outside the main arm of the haven which can be used by much larger craft in conditions up to Force 4. Water depths at low water in the seaward part of the haven will be up to 1.5m. The haven will partially dry out at Low Water. The Council is currently assessing a schedule of mooring fees and plans to commence management services for the haven in mid-August. In parallel with the development of the haven, there are proposals for regeneration of the Eastern Esplanade, an area that has been identified in the past as of particular need for improvement. The Council will be considering proposals for appropriate development over the next few weeks. It is hoped that the haven can be opened in mid-August and it is anticipated that it will be well-used by visiting boat owners and local users in suitable weather conditions. Information on progress with the haven will be updated periodically on the this website.


Previous press release......

With the assistance of funding from the government's Single Regeneration Budget as well as funds from the Council and other sources, proposals are in hand for the construction of a £2.4 million fair-weather haven adjacent to Ventnor's Eastern Esplanade. Planning consent has been received for the scheme and there are no outstanding environmental objections. An Engineer's Report has been submitted to DEFRA to seek a contribution of £235,000 towards the scheme in recognition of the fact that the harbour arms will provide protection to part of the Victorian seawall frontage. It is hoped that a decision on coast protection grant aid will be made in June / July and in parallel with this the detailed design has commenced. The harbour is intended to fulfil several functions. First, it will provide a location for launching and disembarking from small craft for sailing, pleasure-boating and angling trips. Second, the walkway along the western arm of the harbour will provide an opportunity to enjoy the spectacular Undercliff coastline viewed from seaward of the Esplanade, similar to the views provided from the former Ventnor pier. Third, the harbour wall provides a significant improvement in handling facilities for the local shellfisheries industry, thereby improving its efficiency and effectiveness and contributing to the local economy. Finally, the harbour should have a significant benefit for the local economy both for businesses on the Esplanade and in the town itself.

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Updated: 22 March, 2013