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Heritage Action Zones


In 2019 both Ryde and Newport were accepted into Historic England’s High Street Heritage Action Zones programme following applications from Newport and Carisbrooke Community Council and Ryde Town Council, both supported by Isle of Wight Council. A range of projects commenced in 2020 to help regenerate the two towns’ historic high streets.

Newport Guildhall:

ERMC were selected by the Isle of Wight Council to deliver an options appraisal on The Guildhall. This appraisal aims to find a sustainable future for this iconic building in Newport.

The Guildhall is a Grade II* Listed building designed by John Nash and is a key landmark building for Newport town centre. It has a significant repair deficit, and large parts of the building are unused. Part of the ground floor houses the Museum of Island History and some spaces are occupied as offices. The Guildhall is seen as critically important to the regeneration of the town.

The proposals are intended to complement future works relating to the town’s recent designation as a High Street Heritage Action Zone, and as such consider the building’s relationship with the wider Newport townscape.

The Old Grammar School, Newport:

The Grade II Listed building is owned by HTP Apprenticeship College, they wish to establish a premises that will aid with their hospitality-based training courses by providing a public interfacing use in the town centre.


The proposed utilisation of the building seeks to not only provide a public facing training facility, but also a vibrant and contemporary addition to the town centre, improving footfall and attracting tourism through the introduction of accommodation. By creating a separate economic enterprise, income generated can be used for the future ongoing on maintenance and repair of this historic building and retain its presence and legacy for years to come.

104-105 St James Street, Newport:

104-105 St James’s Street is formed of two modestly-sized historical commercial properties, and whilst not listed, are within the designated Newport Conservation Area and adjoining the Grade II listed no.106 St James’s Street.


This project seeks the reinstatement of two distinct commercial premises with dedicated shopfronts to the units. This will entail the removal and/or replacement of external shopfront additions dating to the late 20th century, and which currently serve to detract from the remaining historic elements evident on the rest of the buildings and in the wider Conservation Area. Whilst the removal of internal fabric as a result of space reconfiguration works would inevitably lead to some loss of significance, this is considered to be negligible when weighed against the overall benefit arising from the effective redevelopment of the buildings (and in particular their commercial frontages).

Newport & Ryde Shopfront Appraisals:

As part of the Heritage Action Zones, works will be carried out over the next two years to improve commercial frontages within Newport and Ryde town centre.


Following the Isle of Wight Council's Commercial Frontage Design Guide, ERMC will offer guidance and appraisals to shop owners on how their shop frontages can be improved to enhance the conservation areas and contribute positively to the regeneration of the town centres. Priority will be given to buildings of heritage significance, but grants may also be made for more modern buildings where improvements would significantly enhance the conservation area.

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