Council leader Dave Stewart (centre) with Cabinet member Ian Ward (far right)
When Isle of Wight council leader Dave Stewart said they didn’t expect the numerous problems and failures of Cowes Floating Bridge, those who have been warning of this for over three years may well have spat out their sandwiches yesterday lunchtime.
The Conservative council leader had said,
“What we did not expect was the catalogue of problems we have since experienced over the subsequent years.”
Palin: “Our engineers warned the Isle of Wight Council”
Cameron Palin, spokesperson for the Floating Bridge Engineers’ and Stakeholders’ Group told News OnTheWight,
“In May 2017, our engineers warned the Isle of Wight Council, including Dave Stewart, that these exact problems were going to happen, so it is completely disingenuous of him and the Council to say that they did not expect these problems.
“Not only that, but we offered our engineers expertise to show the council how the problems cannot be fixed.”
Cameron went on to say,
“When Floating Bridge 6 hit the water back in 2017, we told the Council that this bridge is not fit for purpose, and gave them numerous engineering documents to prove it. Now, three years down the line there is no solution to its many faults in sight, especially those related to the bridge being too big.
“It’s clear that the only feasible and practical way forward now is to a purchase a new floating bridge.”
Higher running costs over the next 30 years
The continued ‘fixes’ to the failures of the bridge such as needing a push boat to hold it in place during certain tides, will be sustained over the next 30 years said Cameron,
“The council’s own data shows that Floating bridge 6 has and will continue to have higher running costs over the next 30 years than floating bridge 5 ever did.
“We will spend the next 30 years throwing more money at fixing problems, employing extra staff (now £200,000 more per annum compared with 2014), replacing parts which wear out much faster, and losing revenue whilst the bridge is out of service – this is a waste of tax payers money.”
“Devastated local businesses”
The impact the failing floating bridge has had on businesses in East Cowes is well documented. Cameron explained,
“The failures of this floating bridge have devastated local businesses, especially because fewer customers use it to go to the shops.
“The council has refused to acknowledged or attempted to support our local economy, causing many businesses to shut early or close completely due to a lack of customers because the floating bridge has been out of service so much and has such long waiting times.
“Get a new floating bridge now”
Cameron finished with this message to the Isle of Wight council,
“Local businesses and residents have not only lost faith in this Floating bridge, but the Isle of Wight Council too due to its ineptitude surrounding this floating bridge.
“IW Council – we’re tired of the deception, spin, and stalling. You took an excellent profit-making service and have wasted millions already on it and more to come, unless you cut your losses.”
“We need a new floating bridge now. Stop wasting our taxpayer money and hurting local businesses – get a new floating bridge now.”