£45m ferry terminal development approved by Isle of Wight council

One night after the refusal for Red Funnel’s East Cowes application, Isle of Wight planning committee members voted unanimously in favour of the Wightlink scheme.

Fishbourne terminal artist impression

Karen from Wightlink confirms details of the planning permission secured on Wednesday evening. Ed

Wightlink Ferries is delighted to have received conditional planning permission from Isle of Wight councillors for improvements to port facilities at the company’s Fishbourne car ferry terminal. Members of the planning committee voted unanimously in favour of the scheme.

Work will begin in the autumn to install a new double deck boarding ramp to enable vehicles to embark and disembark more quickly and quietly.

These works at Fishbourne are an integral part of Wightlink’s £45million Investing for the Future programme.

The project also includes improvements to the terminal facilities at Portsmouth Gunwharf, which received unanimous planning approval from Portsmouth City Council last month, and the introduction of a new ship which will be the most environmentally friendly ferry ever to sail the Solent.

Safeguarding jobs
The investment safeguards the jobs of 143 Islanders who work for Wightlink.

Interim Chief Executive, John Burrows said,

“This is good news for Wightlink, our customers and the Isle of Wight.

“When our improvements are complete and our new ship comes into service in 2018 we will be able to operate our services at Fishbourne more efficiently with quieter loading and unloading, reduced traffic congestion and more capacity when people want to travel.”

Wightlink expects to announce more details about the project, including the new ship, in the coming weeks.

Thursday, 14th April, 2016 7:09am


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2e8o

Filed under: Ferry, Fishbourne, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Planning, Top story, Travel

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49 Comments on "£45m ferry terminal development approved by Isle of Wight council"

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That’s good news. Especially the safeguarding of jobs, along with the more efficient travel.

Richard W

I noticed passing St Clare in mid solent the other evening that her upper car deck has already been modified for 2 tier loading – must have been done during winter safety checks – I think i recall her being missing for a few weeks!

the auditor

Red Funnel must be seething …………

Man in Black

They are quite different schemes.


Monopolies Commission?
Red Funnel are, or at least were, slightly cheaper. Will they go?


Yesterday I compared RF and WL for an upcoming trip- same dates, same times, same vehicle, same number of passengers.

RF= £69 WL =£75.

The “Duopoly rules OK”? :-))


So they are finally getting around to building this ramp at Fishbourne it was in the flyer from Wightlink about three years ago could be more,but then it started where the new offices were built.

Richard W

Yes OHMY this was longer back than that I think (2009?) – at the same time they proposed to make direct access through Gunwharf to the catamaran terminal – I contacted Wightlink after a few months to query what was happening and it was ‘shelved’ due to the current financial climate (at that time) and a drop in passenger numbers

Fred Karno
Wightlink must be laughing all the way to the bank…… Out of the 2 companies in this duopoly from hell, Red Funnel often seem to be the most competitive price wise. However, the sea crossing distances for Red Funnel is roughly double that of Wightlink. That means the fuel costs for RF are effectively double those of Wightlink. Also, in any given time, the crew staffing costs… Read more »

You are making incredibly simplistic comparisons.

retired hack

We should be asking ourselves what Wightlink’s success in achieving increased capacity on the Fishbourne route tells us about the future of the Yarmouth-Lymington service.

Jon Combe
Fred Karno makes a very good point above. Many of Red Funnels costs are much higher than Wightlink, yet they are generally cheaper. The shortest of all the crossings is Lymington to Yarmouth, so it should be the cheapest (but it isn’t). Regarding it’s future many of the problems on that route can be laid at Wightlink. When they introduced the new W-class they stated they intedned… Read more »
Richard W

Think a lot of the problems with timings on the Yarmouth crossing have been caused by the all the legal wrangles by Lymington sailing fraternity – I could be wrong!?


Sorry Jon but you are badly misinformed, until last year the new Lymington vessels continued to operate the conventional three vessel service which involves passing in the river.

However I gather that demand on the Lymington-Yarmouth route has suffered in recent years, allowing ‘Wight Sun’ to replace Saint Helen as the relief vessel on the Fishbourne route.

Rod Manley
There has been a long history of Tory councillors under the influence of Wightlink. This clearly shows the bias in the vote against Red Funnel and in favour of Wightlink.Don’t forget that it has been Wightlink and not Red Funnel that the gripe over price and timetables. It surely will strengthen them, particularly over the routes to the two different cities.I would imagine that the two councils… Read more »
Geoff Lumley
I do wish Rod would get his facts right. Firstly there are no Green IW Councillors as yet. Secondly as the only Labour councillor on the Planning Committee I do not see how I am compromised by voting on material planning grounds against the very poor Red Funnel application that would have compromised 200 highly-skilled and well-paid jobs. Thirdly no one was absent from the Red Funnel… Read more »
Vix Lowthion

Rod – what ‘investment’ would this private planning application by Red Funnel bring? What regeneration? It would destroy 150+ high skilled engineering jobs. Replaced by ticket staff and a hotel that may or may not be built. What was in it for the working class?


Phil,Geoff and Vix do you think you are in control of this or does the control come from somewhere else?

Geoff Lumley

Well I’m certainly not in control of anything ! Sadly……

And neither is Vix.

Over to Phil ?

Rod Manley
Sorry Geoff with all the facts. No-one disputes that all of the political groupings have taken this wrong decision, which will be against the interests of the working class.This “compromising” of jobs is not a “fact” either. Regeneration is needed no matter what partisan political views anyone holds and this investment is what has been seriously “compromised”. It probably now jeopardises the floating bridge funding. The ASDA… Read more »
phil jordan
Rod Manley: Please do not confuse “this administration” with the workings and decisions of the planning committee. That committee sits outside of the control of the administration and we have to live with their decisions just the same as anyone else. By the way, we will be leaving quite a legacy compared to the one we inherited in May 2013…. all during a time when our funding… Read more »
Luisa Hillard
Rod Manley, I am shocked that you think the Red Funnel plans were in the best interests of the working class when it was proven that they would cause a loss of jobs. Do you solely base your opinions of Red Funnel press releases? Or have you actually read every planning document that was submitted, including the stakeholder representations and officer conclusions? Because I have and so… Read more »
Geoff Lumley
Pay not attention to Rod, Luisa. He plainly does not know what he is talking about and has no connection to the working class or Labour and TU movement on the Island that I have ever come across. Another correction for him – the floating bridge money is NOT dependent on the Red Funnel application. And what on earth does “The ASDA money might even have to… Read more »
Rod Manley

You soon will find out when your populist opportunism comes to light.

Rod Manley

Quite a legacy, and what might that be?

Rod Manley
“Shocked”, I doubt it, Luisa. It was not “proven” and you know it. Don’t throw “planning documents” in the faces of the public, the public is not privileged. Even the officers seem to be ahead of you this time, but you deem not to listen to them. The danger is that this investment is lost because they say so. Inward investment is what we need. Jobs are… Read more »
Darren Irving

In all the debates about Red Funnels plans I keep seeing the 150+/200 high skilled engineering jobs figure popping up but in all the posturing I cannot seem to find a listing of the companies and services that everyone is keen to protect, in essence I’m fishing for a definitive list from those in the know, would anyone enlighten me with solid facts?

Geoff Lumley

Phil should be able to give their names

Darren Irving

Oooh an actual answer! Thanks Geoff, more helpful than a minus rating on the comment itself, rather than assume who they are I’d like to be “on the right page”!
Phil if you could post the details it’d be great and appreciated!

Luisa Hillard

I have been in contact with the companies to get up to date figures:

SME – 28 (varies by 2 or 3) including sub-contractors.
AMC – 50, but about to rise to 85.
Shemara Refit – 60 (waiting for confirmation of this)
Datum Electronics – 20 (waiting for confirmation)
Netguides Ltd – 10

Darren Irving

Thanks Luisa, nice to “see” the facts, I had pinned most of them down anyway but wanted to be sure!

Darren Irving
Luisa/Steve Goodman- you might well be suprised to learn that I might well be more onside with your cause than you think. It may seem that I have no “love” for East Cowes, I don’t particularly feel like that, I as an individual can clearly see that things are not working as well as they should for the town, some argue it’s central government rules dribbling down… Read more »
Rod Manley
These jobs were never going to go. Please tell me how many light engineering, boat builders etc are lining up to come in now the new terminal has been shelved. Now that the “Gateway” has been shanghaid…. Could it be none!? Red Funnel was going to do more work on the island, will they still do it or move it to Portsmouth or Southampton. Bring on the… Read more »

Luisa – does the decision mean the IWC will lose the funding for the new chain ferry?

Geoff Lumley


Rod Manley


phil jordan

rod manley:

Your assertions are starting to become quite dangerous insofar as broadcasting information to the ‘public’.

Are you giving opinion or fact?

So, to be clear and support your assertion…..how do you *know* that is the case and what *evidence* can you offer to support that assertion.

(“the case” …. being that the funding for the floating bridge is dependent on the red funnel application)


Luisa Hillard

I know that the Council requested that the funding for the Floating Bridge be separate from that for the public realm.

Rod Manley

“Requested” ???!!

phil jordan

Rod Manley:

Yes Rod Manley……. “requested” a change to the ORIGINAL funding application that allowed the three components of the scheme – Southampton, East Cowes & floating bridge – to be dealt with concurrently or consecutively rather than as one application.

“Requested” because there are numbers of ‘partners’ involved in the scheme as well as the ‘funders’.

Yes….”requested” !!

Rod Manley

C’mon you people are you “IN” with funding or “OUT”? Please let the SLEP know.

phil jordan

Rod Manley:

The funding for the floating bridge was not dependent on a planning application being accepted or refused.

We do not let the SLEP know about funding….they let *us* know.

The floating bridge has capital set aside (from capital receipts) whatever the outcome of SLEP funding.

Hope this clarifies the actual position for you.


“In out in out shake it all about!” They sound a bit like Jeremy Corbyn.

I thought that Ian Stephens negotiated some of this, what happened there then?


It could look like RF has been used to bring Funding into East Cowes with this Solent Gateway project and on the Island side been messed about?


There are other areas of the Island that could do with that sort of funding.

phil jordan


…and we have tried for funding from the SLEP for numbers of other projects without much success…

the formula just does not seem to work for us….
(in addition, the SLEP is very marine orientated)


Phil,The Solent LEP has looked at the Solent Gateway project and got funding through Government channels East Cowes would not have funding otherwise and it is RF who have step up to the mark with their side of the deal.That is the main part of this project.


Thanks for the clarification Phil and Luisa – it is indeed good news you bring: the new floating bridge is on track, so to speak.

How come the Fishbourne approval has “safeguarded” jobs? Was Wightlink going to abandon its lucrative share of the duopoly? I think not. All the problems of congestion, unsightliness and risk to employment could be met with a single, simple solution: if new terminal capacity is required, let’s build it at King’s Quay with direct access into the Crematorium roundabout (where there is already an (unused) marshalling facility),… Read more »