Save the Isle of Wight’s coastal heritage from this folly

This is the view from the front of Fort Victoria, a listed building with not only significant heritage value but one of West Wight’s most treasured assets for leisure, tourism and education.

And here is what developers want to do to it – cram it with five luxury four-bedroom beachside houses, and a seafood processing factory. This image is our ‘to scale’ representation of what those buildings will look like, made with images from the developers own plans and CGI.

The pier looks like it is going to be raised about 1.1-1.2m in height and will cut in two the public beach, breaking a public right of way along the shore from Fort Victoria to Yarmouth Harbour. The houses are about 7.5m in height, dwarfing the fort (at 5m high) and obscuring the view eastwards all the way up the Solent.

The fish processing factory and cafe is shown here to scale but reversed 180° (we don’t have a CGI image from the west). The pier buildings are 4 and 5m high and the tower is 9.5m high (add another 1.1-1.2m for the raising of the pier). You probably can just about still see historic Yarmouth Harbour, but only if you don’t mind squinting through somebody’s 2m high wire fencing.

The panoramic views all the way up the Solent to Beaulieu, Calshot, Egypt Point and Gurnard will be lost. No longer will it be possible for crowds of locals and visitors alike to gather in front of Fort Victoria and enjoy the spectacle of the Round the Island, Fastnet or Torquay races as the fleets make their way down from distant Cowes.

You can view the developer’s plans here.