The Bay Area Place Plan: Establishing long-term goals and priorities within a coherent regeneration plan

Towns & Cities

The Bay Area Place Plan is an action-based research project, led by Feria Urbanism, working with Støriie and The Place Bureau. The Bay Area Place Plan seeks to influence policy and delivery as well as being a catalyst for change in internal community perceptions as well as external perceptions.


The plan was developed through extensive public consultation, working with a wide variety of different organisations and generations that live and work on the island. As part of a Three Day Think Space in July 2023, we collaborated with primary schools both in the classroom and outside with hands-on building tasks. We also used artificial intelligence image generation to help teenagers express their vision as well as with an older demographic.


We developed a Spatial Strategy, which comprises five critical elements:

1. Urban Acupuncture – An urban design tactic that uses precise, targeted interventions to promote urban regeneration at a local level. It supports the idea that interventions do not need to be ample and expensive to have a transformative impact.

2. Connectivity – Improvements to make the seafront welcoming and convenient to for bicycles, scooters, and wheelchair users, as well as walkers, joggers, and runners. The inclusion of distance markers (in minutes) or time markers (in kilometres) on the ground through the application of simple stencilled paintwork can provide a visual and psychological connection between the settlements.

3. Consistency & Coordination – To strengthen the overall Bay Area identity, the streets, squares, and public spaces need to achieve a consistency of quality and appearance. A consistent Bay Area palette of building materials and colours, appropriate for the area, is recommended, drawn from nature, the geology and ecology of the area.

4. Urban Intensity yet a Relaxed Island Way of Life – This combination might seem like an unusual juxtaposition, but some people find this appealing. If the Bay Area is to attract incomers and to dissuade young people from leaving, then a blend of this sort should be pursued.

5. The Isle Of Wight UNESCO Biosphere Reserve – The platform for the entire Spatial Strategy is built upon Bay Area’s geology, landscape, seascape, ecology, and biodiversity. Washing across the whole of the Bay Area is a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve, a designation that recognises this unique combination of factors.


The strategic vision embedded in the Bay Area place plan will be the cornerstone for success. The plan provides a clear and cohesive vision for the regeneration of the area, outlining long-term goals and priorities. Such clarity allows for efficient resource allocation, enabling local authorities and developers to work toward shared objectives. Creating a comprehensive place plan for the Bay Area offers a multitude of interconnected benefits, each contributing to the overarching goal of revitalising and sustaining this critical part of the island.

“Richard Eastham of Feria Urbanism led a collaborative team that included Laura Mulhern (Støriie) and Rosanna Vitiello (The Place Bureau) with each bringing their own expertise and personality to a high functioning team. Sandown Town Council were delighted with the way they delivered the Think Space, a three-day public consultation that had many challenges, and also in producing a coherent Bay Area Place Plan that can now be taken forward, with confidence in the evidence based data”
Paddy Lightfoot, Sandown Town Council


One of the primary advantages lies in the engagement and empowerment of the community. Involving local residents, businesses, and stakeholders in the planning process fosters a sense of ownership, ensuring that the plan aligns with their aspirations and values. This collaborative approach not only builds trust but also empowers the community to actively participate in shaping its future.


A second key advantage is the regeneration of the Bay Area through stronger economic growth. Tourism, for example, often experiences a boost as a result of well-planned regeneration efforts. Increased tourism activity leads to higher revenue for local businesses, creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and job seekers alike. Additionally, these developments can have a positive impact on property values, benefiting property owners and increasing revenues that can be locally reinvested. Derelict and abandoned buildings are a major issue in the Bay Area and a priority issue for the local community.


The plan seeks to ensure that this coastal area is not only economically vibrant but socially inclusive. By creating spaces for community gatherings and fostering a sense of belonging among residents, social cohesion is strengthened. Through the creation of this well-defined place plan, this unique coastal area on the island becomes more attractive to private investors, fostering a greater number of public-private partnerships for development projects.

There is now a Bay Area Place Plan Steering Group in place, containing six council representatives – two from each local council – and community representatives will soon be added. The steering group expects to start delivering a range of projects at different scales over the second half of 2024 and beyond.