The normal pre-season inspection undertaken last week has revealed the condition of the supporting steelworks of the footbridge at the top of the lift have significantly worsened since the last inspection and the lift cannot be opened until remedial works are carried out.
The council is urgently investigating whether anything other than a full replacement of the bridge can be done to ensure the lift can be used for at least part of the summer season.
One of the challenges for the council is that the operating plant is nearing the end of its serviceable life so an investment into replacing the bridge without also committing to the replacement of the plant would not be the best use of the council’s limited financial resources. The combined value of these works is estimated at nearly £750,000
Councillor Shirley Smart, Executive member for tourism, said:
“The council’s normal programme of works to ready the lift for opening at Easter was well in hand and whilst some further deterioration of the bridge was expected it is fair to say that we are completely shocked at the results of the inspection.
“Public safety has to be our prime concern and although we will look at all options to get the lift open for the seasons I am not optimistic about its chances.
“It is ironic the scale of deterioration has been discovered only a few weeks before council was due to consider a report to release funds to replace the bridge and the lift plant at the end of the 2015 operation period.”
A bus service operates on Shanklin Esplanade every half an hour between 9.58am and 5.28pm during the day (apart from between 1pm and 2pm) between 20 June and 31 Augustwhich members of the public can use to travel into the town centre, the railway station or the bus station.