Plans for an on-land cider barn tourist attraction at the former Arreton Garden and Aquatic Center in Hale Common have been abandoned, with permission now sought for 20x ‘live and work’ units.

It was in 2017 that permission was granted for the demolition of disused glass houses and for the construction of a new tourist attraction, based on Godshill Cider and Chocolate Island. However, the plans have now been scrapped in light of the devastating impact of the COVID pandemic on the hospitality industry.

Planning documents reveal that the implementation of the new Branstone Farm development, which includes the Goddards Brewery Visitor Centre, was also a factor in the decision. The candidates feel that there is not enough confidence in the economy to sustain 2 similar attractions so close together.

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Now, 5 years after permission was granted for the cider house, a planning application for the development of 20 homes and businesses next to The Fighting Cocks pub has been submitted to Isle of Wight Council.

According to the plans, 2 adjoining rows of 10 units will be built with the ground floor providing industrial/commercial space, with 1st floor accommodation above – a total space of 1,292 square feet per unit. Each apartment will consist of an open kitchen/dining room/living room, 2 bedrooms and a bathroom. Each unit will also have parking on the forecourt and a garden area at the back.

Images: SJT Construction / IWC

The anonymous claimant, who is represented by Samual Rees of SJT Construction, says the combined residential/commercial units will be affordable, priced at around £125,000. He believes there is a potential gap in the market for a concept that has been very popular elsewhere in the country.

The proposal is said to provide an opportunity for a new approach to life/work ethics at a time when many people have been forced to work from home and are now embracing the concept.

Solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system will ensure that renewable energy is at the heart of the project.

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Planning permission was granted in 2020 for a new greenhouse and auxiliary energy center on nearby land. Work is believed to have now started with marked footings.

A consultation on the living/working arrangement is due to end on September 23, with a decision expected by the end of November.

Images: SJT Construction / IWC

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Keith P. Plain