Isle of Wight Council

03 Oct 2022

Ambitious vision for new cultural centre

A bold vision for a new cultural centre, including a space to keep the Island Archives, has been published by the Isle of Wight Council in advance of carrying out a detailed feasibility study on funding and timelines for building the new venue.

Positive consultation with the Riverside Centre, which currently occupies part of the proposed site, and the nearby Quay Arts Centre has been a key part of developing the proposed vision, championing a sense of community collaboration.

The study will seek to identify how the current Riverside Centre activities can be accommodated in the new facility and, further, how it might complement and add value to the Quay Arts offer.

The new centre will also provide a new purpose-built home for Newport library and Island archives, integrating vital public services into a new vibrant community space.

A collection of waterfront and rooftop cafes and an exhibition and performance space will be designed in a bid to make Newport Harbour a fantastic cultural destination.

The proposals are intended to act as a catalyst for the wider housing and commercial improvements set out in the ambitious masterplan for the harbour, scheduled to be considered by the council’s Cabinet in the next few months.

Councillor Julie Jones-Evans, Cabinet member for levelling up, regeneration and business development, welcomed the proposed vision.
She said: “Development of the Island’s cultural economy is a key priority, and we have accelerated the work on the new cultural centre set out in the Newport Harbour masterplan.

"The Island needs bold, ambitious, but also deliverable projects to raise everyone’s confidence and establish the type of modern, high-quality cultural facilities on the Island that people living on the mainland come to expect and islanders deserve.”

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Cabinet member for Climate Change, Environment and Heritage said: 
"The proposed centre will plainly provide an amazing attraction and cultural resource for the Island. Of particular importance will be the fact that
it will create a proper facility for both the storage and display of our Island archives, which otherwise are at risk of having to be stored on the mainland, as well a new and improved base for our Library services.

"It must be emphasised that the valuable resource provided by the Riverside Centre is key in the thinking behind this project and the aim is to not just retain but enhance that as part of taking these plans forward.

"This is an exciting development."

Island MP, Bob Seely, who visited the harbour last week to find out more about the plans, said: "I was delighted to hear about the Isle of Wight Council’s exciting and ambitious plans to construct a brand-new arts centre in Newport.

“I am very keen that we enhance our cultural offer on the Island.

“Clearly, there is a lot of work to do before these plans can be realised but I am keen to support them however I can.

“I will be contacting arts ministers and Arts Council England to raise awareness of the council’s plans and to support fundraising efforts when they start."

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Factfile
  • A bold vision for a new cultural centre, including a space to keep the Island Archives, has been published by the Isle of Wight Council
  • In advance of carrying out a detailed feasibility study on funding and timelines for building the new venue.
 
Isle of Wight, UK