Cowes Hammerhead crane on the Isle of Wight. Picture by Jennifer Burton.
COWES Hammerhead crane could be knocked down — or be restored with a top-quality restaurant near its base.
Five proposals for the future of the historic Grade II listed Isle of Wight structure, including demolition, are being considered by developers of the Cowes waterfront site, owned by the Peter Harrison Trust.
Lighting the crane and locating a restaurant at its base could cost more than £2 million although detailed figures have not yet been worked out.
A lower cost refurbishment of the 1912 structure, which is on the Cowes side of the mouth of the River Medina, would cost £1 million, members of Cowes Town Council have been told by the Cowes Hammerhead Crane Trust.
Around £500,000 for the less costly refurbishment could be raised through grants with the remaining £500,000 paid for by developers.
At a presentation given to members of Cowes Town Council on Thursday, last week, secretary of the trust, Ed Checkley, said the crane could be used to persuade young people to take up careers in engineering.
Eric Holding, from John Thompson and Partners, one of the three development companies drawing up plans for the site, said the companies were trying to stimulate a public debate about the future of the crane and the site.
He said: "There could be some private funding. It could be that another body takes over running the crane. There may be some money from English Heritage. We have no idea at present.
"We have options and we are talking to everybody at the moment.
"We are preparing all the options so everybody can see what the costs are, what the long-term running costs are and what is sustainable in the long term."
The developers of the site, which includes the crane, held a community meeting last Tuesday at Cowes Methodist Church to give residents another chance to see potential plans for the area.
Charles Campion, partner of John Thompson and Partners, said: "Cowes residents are keen something should happen with the site, something that’s viable and caters for everyone."
For more information about the result of the community planning weekend and to see sketches, visit www.jtp.co.uk.