Isle of Wight Town Centre Masterplan

RCKa’s masterplan celebrates the Island’s unique identity to kick-start the regeneration of Newport Town Centre. It was developed alongside an outline business case that considered strategic financial, economic appraisal & social outcomes to ensure it was deliverable. Working closely with the Council and other stakeholders, we prepared a viable masterplan solution that built on Newport’s unique and valuable heritage.

The project had three principal objectives:

A connected town – An accessible town centre, maximising interconnectivity, enhancing identity through arrival sequences, introducing spatial hierarchy and legible wayfinding.
A socially responsive town – Creating a comfortable and vibrant environment, designed to be universal and enhance wellbeing; dense, sustainable and adaptable.
A characterful town – Enhancing heritage & character, defining quarters and providing a distinctive point of difference.

By focusing on public realm and placemaking the masterplan provides a clear hierarchy of spaces and movement and establishes a valuable identity for the town. The buildings themselves respond to the public realm to enhance legibility and orientation, introducing taller buildings where appropriate and achieving a much higher density compared to the more conventional plot-led masterplan approach.

A large part of the masterplan was to encourage sustainable living through the introduction of more residential accommodation into the town centre alongside key social infrastructure. Part of the masterplan brought medical, wellbeing and care facilities from over a dozen disparate locations into the town centre to create a Health & Wellbeing Quarter. The intensification of the town centre creates a more vibrant environment but it was important that this did not lead to overbearing buildings or an impersonal public realm. To this end, forms are broken up with a variety of scales, routes are enhanced and local features such as the colonnade used to break up the form and encourage year-round activity at street level.

Our analysis of the town centre established key nodal points – tall buildings, heritage assets and key public uses that emphasised routes and gateways to improve legibility and wayfinding. Working closely with the planning authority we demonstrated how innovative urban design solutions can maximise density without causing harm to the surroundings. We established appropriate height limitations through visual impact and form in an area of sensitive heritage assets.

Client: Isle of Wight Council
Location: Newport, Isle of Wight
Collaborators: 31ten Consulting and Inner Circle