A former planning chief at the Isle of Wight Council wants to know...where now for the Island's marine industry in the wake of the annnouncement of the Medina Studios scheme for Kingston in East Cowes?

Former Cowes councillor Richard Hollis, in a letter to the Isle of Wight County Press, said he accepted the film and TV studio plan was 'laudable'.

But, he said, Kingston Marine Park was designed and laid out to allow for the expansion of the marine manufacturing industry that urgently requires water frontage to continue its 'solid growth'.

Scroll down to see the site of the planned movie studio...

Isle of Wight County Press: Medina Movie Studios and two of its directors.Medina Movie Studios and two of its directors. (Image: Medina Studios/Newsquest.)

He said: "Kingston Marine Park was given planning permission solely for marine development use."

At last week's Isle of Wight Council cabinet meeting, when the decision to sell to Medina Studios was made, director of regnereation Chris Ashman explained why the marine industry usage was not being taken further.

He said environmental regulations and European-wide environmental regulations had limited the opportunity for that and discounted it altogether.

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Boat building up to 30 tonnes would require significant civil engineering impacts on the riverside and river beds at that site.

He said: "Colleagues at the Environment Agency and Natural England have highlighted that is not possible under the habitat regulations. So for cost reasons and also practical delivery ones, the marine use permission is not deliverable."

Earlier in the week, East Cowes Cllr Karl Love, said the site was bought by the council for £600,000 from Homes England and it was never a deep water site.

He said: "The due diligence was not done by Homes England in terms of the river. People talk about worms in the mud but it is much more than that, seahorse colonies, all kinds of things.

"So it cannot be touched in the way it was originally designed and that was imposed by the Environmental Agency." 

But Mr Hollis said there had been an undertaking by both the then Homes and Community Agency and the Isle of Wight Council that the site would replace land lost in what he called 'the absurd destruction of the iconic boat building facility next to the Columbine building in East Cowes'.

He called on the council to actively looking for replacement sites for the marine industry. 

"How about the unused redundant council land on the other side of the river next to Medina Wharf?" he said.