Floating Bridge 6 fiasco hits the national news

Duncan Kennedy’s report on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (have a listen within) takes the fiasco of the Floating Bridge to a national audience

Floating Bridge and suspended sign at East Cowes

The long running saga of Floating Bridge 6 made the national news today (Saturday).

The £3.2m Floating Bridge, that was first launched in 2017 to take foot and vehicle passengers across the River Medina between Cowes and East Cowes, has racked up eye-watering costs in the last three years and been taken out of service more than 60 times.

A segment (listen below) by national BBC journalist Duncan Kennedy featured on BBC Radio 4 just after the 8am headlines.

BBC Radio 4
It followed a four minute segment at 7.45am from the same reporter, in which he speaks to local residents and including local councillor Cameron Palin and IW councillor, Karl Love. News OnTheWight understands the segment will also be featured on national BBC TV news.

Increased focus
News OnTheWight’s carried out a week-long analysis and reporting of the Floating Bridge costs – our Deep Dive series in October/November this year (2020). Since then there’s been an uptick in reporting from the BBC: South Today; Politics South; and now this.

Calls for resignation
In the last three years residents, businesses and opposition councillors have called for the Bridge to be replaced and for the Cabinet member responsible, Cllr Ian Ward, to resign.

Listen to the report

What the report said

“People on the Isle of Wight have called for the replacement of a ferry service that keeps breaking down. The chain ferry, which links East and West Cowes has been out of action dozens of times in the three years it’s been operating. Duncan Kennedy reports. “

Duncan Kennedy:

“It’s official name is floating bridge number six, but local people have dubbed it Floaty McFloat Farce.

“The chain ferry is designed to carry around 20 cars across the river Medina, but since it replaced an older version in 2017, the 3 million pound vessel has been out of action nearly 60 times, including for most of last week. It’s faced a series of problems with everything from its hydraulics, to docking. When tides are strong, it even needs a separate barge to help it across.

“And when it’s not running at all, drivers are forced to take a 10 mile road detour. The Isle of Wight County council, which operates, it says it’s trying to resolve the issues. There’s been a floating Bridge in Cowes since 1859, but local people, who’ve staged street protests to express their anger, say the latest version should be placed.”

Justin Webb:

“Duncan Kennedy reporting. Ten past eight is the time.”

See the archive
News OnTheWight’s Floating Bridge archive includes over 200 articles specifically related to FB6.

Listen to the full report on BBC Sounds by skipping to 45mins into the programme.

Image: © Cameron Palin

Saturday, 5th December, 2020 12:08pm


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Filed under: Cowes, East Cowes, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Roads, Top story

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5 Comments on "Floating Bridge 6 fiasco hits the national news"

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Benny C
Good. Ian Ward cannot continue to hide from his failings. He surely must be sacked. Resignation is not enough. We are paying for this mans ineptitude. Let’s have a statement from Dave Stewart supporting Ian Ward. I bet it doesn’t materialise! Councillors reading this surely you can force a vote of no confidence in him. He has had long enough to try and sort this out. He… Read more »
Steve Goodman
Not good that we got to the position where expensive and embarrassing failings described on national news as extraordinary became our new normal ages ago. Also not surprising to people paying attention to the important stuff about politics, power, and major problems reliably reported in places like Private Eye and the Guardian is how representative the FB fiasco is. People in power wasting a great deal of… Read more »

Raise the IW Council Tax by 4%, that should just about cover it for another year.

Chiverton Paul
Well done – this mess needs to be investigated. Either the councils procurement processes are lacking, flawed, corrupt or the manufacturer is in breach of contract. As local tax payers we deserve to know who is at fault. We have a right to know and this should not be investigated by the council themselves. Where is Mr Seely in this? Why isn’t he getting answers for his… Read more »

I’ve heard a rumour that a ch4 program entitled “Find it, fix it flog it”, recently filmed on the Isle of Wight, is to be screened today. Not sure what the subjects are but assume it starts with FB6 and ends with Stewart and Ward.