Developers are “hopeful” that work to build a new retail park at St George’s Way in Newport could start in the late summer – despite plans not yet being approved.

The controversial proposals, which could see a supermarket, drive-thru restaurant and 24-hour gym built, are yet to be given the go-ahead by Isle of Wight Council planning officers.

That is despite those behind them telling Isle of Wight Radio they were hoping for consent last summer.

But, Paul Airey, planning consultant for South Coast Leisure which owns the site, says there is nothing to worry about:

“[Isle of Wight Council] planning officers are considering it at the moment. Officers are looking at the information that we have provided.

“We are hoping and I think officers are hoping that it will go to the main committee for determination.

“Like everything, things always take longer than we expect but we will certainly be hoping that subject to the approval going through that we can certainly start [development works] in the late summer.”

If plans are approved, Newport Football Club will relocate to a new purpose-built ground at the Racecourse, on the outskirts of the town.

Work on that new sports facility – which will include a clubhouse, grandstand and
state-of-the-art floodlighting – will be funded by the development of the retail park.

In the meantime, Port will ground share with local rivals East Cowes Vics for the entirety of next season.

Newport FC spokesman Peter Westhorpe, welcomed the news:

“We are all very excited about moving into the new Racecourse stadium but clearly this cannot be in time for the 2019/20 season.

“This ground share provides us with the certainty we need to prepare for the next
league campaign. We would like to thank East Cowes Vics for their support and we are looking forward to sharing their famous old ground next season.

“We are closely matched this season and I am sure this temporary arrangement will provide an extra competitive incentive next year.”

Gary Todd, spokesman for East Cowes Vics, said:

“We may be rivals on the pitch but we hope that through us agreeing to share our facilities, a bond will be formed between the two clubs over the 2019/20 season which hopefully will last for many seasons to come.

“Both clubs are currently well placed on 44 points in the Sydenhams Football League Division One.

“The arrangement has been submitted to the Sydenhams Football League for their
ratification.”