A POPULAR public seating shelter on Cowes Parade is set to be demolished and a campaign has been launched to save the historic landmark.

Cowes Heritage has expressed its concerns at the loss of the public shelter, which is positioned by the RNLI lifeboat station and has been cordoned off by the Isle of Wight Council, following an engineer's report that deems the structure unsafe.

Chair of Cowes Heritage, George Chastney, said: "A very popular public and historic amenity on the Parade will be lost for ever.

"Cowes Heritage records show that well over 100 years ago, the shelter, with its long wooden seating, had been much favoured by local longshoremen.

"These days, it is greatly appreciated by thousands of visitors to the Parade, particularly when it is raining or when there is a pressing need to find some shade.

"I am pleased to see that Councillor John Nicholson, who serves on both the Isle of Wight Council and Cowes Town Council, fully supports our strong view that this shelter should be returned to public use as soon as practically possible, preferably before the summer season.

"After inspecting the structure, he believes it is salvageable; an alternative would be a complete rebuild.

"If the Isle of Wight Council is reluctant to spend all the necessary money, he thought Cowes Town Council might be persuaded to make a contribution.

"If both councils fail to fund the work, it is not out of the question for Cowes Heritage, as a last desperate resort, to launch a public appeal.

"Before it is too late, we simply must ensure a covered shelter with seating continues on this site, well into the future."

An Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: “The public shelter at the Parade end of Watch-house Lane was recently inspected by an engineer, who has unfortunately reported the building has deteriorated considerably and is beyond economical repair.

"The engineer's report recommends due to health and safety concerns, a removal of the structure is carried out as soon as possible.

"As owners of the shelter, the Isle of Wight Council have fenced off the area, and will be applying for a section 80 demolition notice.

"Local stakeholders are being notified, and arrangements are being made for the demolition, but no date has yet been set.

"It is not intended to replace the shelter."