The Island Conservatives are today (Thursday) setting out their vision for securing the renaissance of seaside towns and villages, across the Isle of Wight.

The Tories say they are aiming to back up their plans for Newport Riverside, announced recently, with ideas for how coastal towns and villages could be supported after the pandemic.

They would work with local businesses to diversify and enhance the quality of visitor attractions and accommodation.

In addition, there would be investment in coastal defences, beach management and the public realm, to ensure that both residents and visitors can take pride in these parts of the Island.

They would consult on changes to planning policy, making it easier for historic hotel buildings to be replaced by (or converted into) high quality self-catering accommodation and smaller catered provision (with enabling residential development as well, if needed).

* Continue to work pro-actively to ensure that longstanding derelict, brownfield sites in a number of coastal towns are brought back into meaningful use, thereby improving the visual amenity of these locations and providing much-needed housing in sustainable locations.

* Support existing and new visitor attractions in all parts of the Island, by inviting proposals for diversifying and adding to the quality of the offer to prospective visitors.

* Work with Visit Isle of Wight to promote the Island as an attractive, accessible “staycation” destination for families, couples and the next generation of visitors.

* Invest in the maintenance and strengthening of coastal defences and infrastructure – including slipways, seawalls and wooden groynes – as agreed in the Council budget earlier this year.

* Work with relevant town and parish councils to agree appropriate levels of beach cleaning and lifeguard provision (where needed), particularly to ensure that more Blue Flags and Seaside awards can be secured.

* Improve pedestrian access along both cliff paths and seafronts, along with additional cycle access where appropriate / safe.

* Enable more beach huts to be provided in key locations across the Island, generating income for the Council at the same time.

This list of ideas are not exhaustive, and many Conservative candidates are promoting specific ideas for the wards in which they are standing.

Cllr Dave Stewart, the outgoing Conservative leader of the Isle of Wight Council said: “Tourism is a key part of our wider economy. However, the sector has had a very challenging 12 months, and we must now look at how we can help revitalise our coastal communities.