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The leader of the Isle of Wight Council has shut down ideas the authority will buy a new vessel to replace the beleaguered Floating Bridge 6.

Throughout the numerous problems, one solution raised by campaigners was to replace the boat.

The vessel was taken out of action in July this year for routine maintenance but a problem with the hydraulics was found and the boat still remains out of action, almost 9 weeks later.

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At a meeting of the Isle of Wight cabinet last week, Council Leader Councillor Dave Stewart was asked when the council would order a new one now that he has said the vessel is not fit for purpose. In response, Cllr Stewart said the current administration inherited the managerial responsibility of the chain ferry and all the challenges and issues that have come with it from the previous Independent administration.

He said:

“When it arrived on the Island, everyone expected it to work correctly and provide a good service for the community for years to come.

“What we did not expect was the catalogue of problems we have since experienced over the subsequent years.

“Added challenges recently has been the need to remove it from service during the main parts of the St Mary’s Roundabout roadworks from August to September, creating a perfect storm of destruction when we least needed it.”

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Roadworks at the new junction had been causing traffic jams and hold-ups over busy periods in August as the new Forest Road exit was introduced.

Cllr Stewart said the primary focus now is to maintain the service as the council starts the talks to secure ‘appropriate remedy for the damages that the local council has suffered’. He said:

“I have been drawn to question whether the vessel was truly fit for purpose when it was designed and constructed as agreed in the contract and this needs to be resolved.

“Our plan is to fix the current problem and ensure the vessel is back in the water as soon as possible.

“We have no plans at this time to order a new floating bridge.”

Floating Bridge 6 was funded by a £3.5 million grant from the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Fix link brigade

Should have sent the damn thing back. It is clearly under warranty. But no just rather waste more money on the lemon. Maybe should have had it build on the island! We do have our own ship builders.!!! The other unofficial name for this vessel should be shi*e Mc shi*tface

Tim C

Just extend it….. voilà!! A fixed link!


This is what happens when you allow inexperienced people to tell inexperienced council staff that the design they have cooked up, is what was needed, whilst simultaneously ignoring all the work, experience and understanding of the floating bridge service that had been built up over decades of actual use and real time knowledge.   Typical…The we know better than those idiots that built a floating bridge that worked flawlessly for decades brigade have been shown up for the incompetents they really are.   The designer and company, as well as the council official that accepted it and signed off on… Read more »


– And I’d like to know why a conventional oil burner was chosen, with all the pollution they create. . . For a vehicle such as this, an electric flywheel or battery propulsion system, recharging each time it reaches the slipway would have been the most environmentally acceptable design.
– There appears to have been little concern about the environment and pollution from those decision makers..


It’s got run to damage the environment !

Sarah Cupcake

Victorian technology at Buck lightyear prices. Infinity and beyond.

Sarah Cupcake

More comments waiting approval, why ?

Christopher Davis

Let’s try a new leader for the council as a good starting point then get rid of 75% of the councillors. Job done no need to keep on increasing council tax.

Sarah Cupcake

Can we stop pretending now and stop wasting money trying to fit a square into a round hole. Its not fit for purpose, never has been and it would be madness to waste any more money on it. Scrap it or sell it but please dont return it to “service” and plough more tax payers money into trying to “fix” it.


I imagine the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership are ruing the day they made the £3.5m Grant. This piece of s**t has done terrible damage to the local economy, local accessibility, businesses, council coffers, and traffic flow across a large part of the island – completely the opposite of what the grant was supposed to achieve I imagine. If it were not for the fact that it was a grant I would have asked for my money back if I were them.

Last edited 8 days ago by Plato

solent lep are far to busy having women only business training sessions -hardly inclusive and flies in the face of todays endless ranting about diversity and inclusion.

Sarah Cupcake

Why are some peoples comments allowed whilst others are just left awaiting approval?

Eve Shipman

Well,well,well. Eat my own words. My post is “waiting approval”

joe thompson

the council were told at the beginning it was too wide too long too deep too heavy 28tons too heavy

Mr P.L.Watson

Err !! Can we have the old ones back please ?? 


Council boss said no new floating bridge .Is that because there’s no new brown envelope

Geoff Hope

That Munch, OR the ones already received would become all to apparent by the supplier should the thing be returned and asked for any refund.
That is always the issue with dishonesty, cant then get refund if deal iffy in the first instance.


What an utter waste of a huge sum of money. Not an engineer but surely the measurements of the hull both ends should have matched the ferry that was removed from service. Who signed this off ? Complete fiasco from start to finish. Is no one accountable for this? Pity the names of councillors involved are not publicly named and shamed.


Not only does the floating bridge need replacing, but so does the council both are too far gone to fix.

Elizabeth Terry

Last week it was reported that an island boatbuilder had delivered 4 ferrys to Malta. Why was a company in northern Britain given the contract for this boat when a local business who understands the complexaties of the river. Or do the council have no loyalty to island businesses.


Because the local company didn’t want the job.

Hugh Jampton

I think you will find that south west Wales is not in northern Britain.


That’s the problem, stick a box of leeks on the deck – Run a treat it will then Boyo !


Fix it Dave Stewart, and get rid of the executives who commissioned it… we need people to be responsible for their actions


I see they are trying to deflect responsibility now.
To my mind, the Council ordered it, the Council run it and the be all and end all is the Council ARE responsible for it.
Sort it.

Fed up

There is one thing common to both floaty and the council, both are useless. Best cure, scrap both NOW. Bye bye.

Geoff Hope

We ALL need to vote the suspected corrupt Councillors out next time. NO use moaning, only perhaps to enlighten those who don’t realise how untrustworthy many clearly are.
Ensure YOU do vote next time, don’t leave it to others, or nothing will change here.

Fed up

And, at the same time get rid of the rest of them in county hall, and all the other hiddy holes


Crikey Editor post here is appearing then vanishing the same with the post on the Neutrik ste. What’s happening mate?


Oh well. That’s that business gone down the toilet then.


There has been no word from Burness Corlett Three Quays who provided the technical specifications for this disaster. Funny how they have made tens of thousands out of our council tax but suddenly are cowering below there desks with n othing to say. Sue them !!!

Eve Shipman

May I suggest that the next full council meeting is held on the floating bridge, somewhere in the middle of the English Channel. And could somebody else tell me where the scuttle cocks are, please?

Aurhur Sausage

Make it a fixed bridge then.


Make all the excuses you like, the buck stops at the top.


I call for a public enquiry. Into the design construction and mainly the councils handling of the whole fiasco.


Waste of Money, Waste of time, Its not fit for purpose . Its a financial liability .If we are going to have a Floating Bridge get one that works, this one doesn’t.


its a a load of shxxt we know it they know it its too big too wide the old ones all had a rounded shape to help deflect the strong tidal force its cost 100s of thousands more since if not a mill or 2.to have to hire a tug at hundreds of pounds to push it against the tide is a bloody joke its pathetic.It will never be in service10/20 years time so now scrap it and build a proper one you tossers!!!

Old Mike

I expect that at all the meetings on this Bridge 6 design etc, there was a little man at the end of the table who raised all these points – but was told that he didn’t understand, had got it wrong, it had all been looked at by experts, and he should shut up. Been there, done it, been proved right – for all the good it did!


The beauty is of course that this is the public sector, so no bureaucrats job or pension has been affected by this appalling debacle and the lost money will simply be made up through the addition of even more ‘parking restrictions’ to improve ‘safety’ (wasn’t there another 19 of them proposed for introduction a couple of weeks back, along with more increases in parking charges and permit costs?) – be careful though council, you’ll eventually run out of yellow paint and services you can cut or avoid delivering and then what will you do?


Ok so we can’t have a new one how about a refund and bring the old floating bridge back. It’s still for sale. Perhaps we float the councillors out on the floating bridge and sink it, towed naturally. Two birds one stone ? Just an idea.

Last edited 7 days ago by richard
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