The storefronts of 2 of the main towns on the island may need to be changed if new planning guidelines are adopted by Isle of Wight Council.

The Newport and Ryde Commercial Frontage Design Guide aims to protect the identity of the city’s historic main streets.

It sets a new standard for commercial properties to ensure their visual appearance enhances the conservation area, instead of negatively impacting after the two towns were accepted into Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones scheme in 2019.

The article continues below this ad

The draft design guide says much of Newport High Street has lost its architectural heritage, with the section west of St James’ Street particularly affected and characterized by ‘dilapidated or bland’ chain store fronts national.

The showcases, the document says, do not showcase the heritage of their buildings or what is in the city.

In Ryde, the High Street is said to lack the same ‘place appeal’ as Union Street, again with national chains interrupting the beautiful historic storefronts.

Now, the design guide explains how traders and owners can redesign or redesign the facade of their building, starting with understanding the building, its heritage and evaluating it in detail. He says that almost all of the windows in towns can be improved.

The guide recommends that all storefronts consider an aesthetic refresh before any additional work such as repair and refurbishment or renewal, in reference to the area’s previous heritage. It also includes a final design checklist for owners to assess their proposed design, including whether the storefront fits into the existing streetscape, are there any historic details that can be retained and improved and whether the store is accessible to everyone.

The article continues below this ad

The authority is seeking public feedback on the draft design guide before it is adopted into the local plan as a complementary planning document.

You can view the draft Supplementary Design Guide at

The consultation lasts until August 1 at noon. Comments may be submitted either by email to [email protected] or by letter to Council Planning Services, Seaclose Office, Fairlee Road, Newport, PO30 2QS.

Don’t miss another story! Get the The latest island news delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our daily newsletter here.

The article continues below this ad

James V. Hayes