Floating Bridge Engineers’ and Stakeholders’ Group has warned council for three years about failures of FB6

The Floating Bridge Engineers’ and Stakeholders’ Group explain how they have been warning the Isle of Wight council for many years about the ongoing failures of Floating Bridge 6. Details within

floating bridge = iwc

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.”

Tuesday, 15th September, 2020 7:59am


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

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

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32 Comments on "Floating Bridge Engineers’ and Stakeholders’ Group has warned council for three years about failures of FB6"

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Since the Tory’s seem to love their 3 word slogans at the moment, how about this,



I guess you can apply that slogan to not only the floating bridge, but also, Dave Stewart, Ian Ward and the Conservative run IW Council as a whole.


I would go for WASTE OF OXYGEN

Jenny Smart

Great photograph Sally, but perhaps it needs a caption, like, ‘did anyone see it move?’


The Independents who commissioned a vessel that was wrong for this location and is riven by inherent problems need to be held accountable as well.

The fact is, the people of Cowes and East Cowes were handed this maritime jalopy by an administration that is now seeking to wash its hands of its role in the debacle.


True, but it is the conservatives who have been throwing countless amounts of council taxpayers money at this piece of junk over the last 3 years

And the current administration has had three years to remedy this problem with the floating bridge, and they haven’t. That’s the point. No use blaming the previous administration when the current problem is that the council staff (who screwed this up in the first place) and this council leadership won’t do what is needed which is to get a new floating bridge. They aren’t listening to qualified… Read more »
I don’t think anyone (and certainly not me) is saying that the current administration has covered itself in glory. But let history record what has happened here: the previous Indy administration were in power when the thing was deigned, built and all but delivered. Those now seeking – for political gain – to lay the problem solely at the feet of their political opponents, presumably with one… Read more »
tyke, I don’t care about the politics – I care about the engineering and whether it works. It’s the Council staff/officers to blame the most anyway. It does bother me that this administration is not doing what needs to be done. Inevitably some politicians are going to capitalise on situations, and equally the Tories continue to try to blame the previous admin. The reality – and I’m… Read more »
I don’t disagree with much of that Wighton and I don’t care much for the politics of it either, truth told. I just think the whole episode needs to be properly documented. Of course a solution is required but so too is culpability: steps need to be taken to ensure similar procurement calamities don’t befall us in the future. The first step of that is to understand… Read more »

As Cllr Ward keeps saying, the politicians set the direction, the IOWC carries out the work. What you should be asking is this – does the IOWC have the necessary competencies for this type of work or any other?

Indeed. Does it now and did it then? Politicians do indeed set the polices and officers then implement those. But it is also the role of politicians to ensure systems are in place to ensure their instructions are carried out effectively. This clearly didn’t happen when the thing was being planned and built – there was no effective oversight by the politicians. To suggest that politicians are… Read more »
tyke, from my limited experience with the Council, but having friends both who are Council officers and councillors of various parties, the Council officers didn’t allow the politicians to have oversight. Even now, there appears to be certain officers controlling the situation (potentially to cover themselves). Even when councillors asked to see documents then and since this fiasco, they were incomplete, heavily redacted, or not given to… Read more »
Sorry Wighton, if councillors, particularly portfolio holders, allow themselves to be fobbed off in the way you describe then they have no business being (remunerated) councillors. I can assure you it is inconceivable that portfolio holders would not be able to have access to whatever council documentation they required in order to discharge their roles. You are right that the current administration – its officers and politicians… Read more »
Of course the mismanagement of this service is nothing compared to the failure of the Highways PFI contract. To have one massive failure under your leadership is awful, but to have two of this magnitude is breathtakingly bad. I’ve lost count over the amount of times this lot (and the previous Tory administration under Pugh) were featured in the ‘Rotten Boroughs’ section of Private Eye. It clearly… Read more »

Well you are right on your last point, Peter.
That’s progress of sorts.

I was mildly amused at your attempt to patronise, thanks. It registered about half a chuckle. It appears to me that you are incapable of holding Conservative Councillors to the same standards you expect of anyone else. You save your vitriol for current and ongoing failures to an administration from almost 4 years ago. A tactic often used by the equally feckless national Conservatives coincidentally. I would… Read more »
I haven’t mentioned Floaty Phil once in this thread until now. And you will see, if you care to look, that I have not sought to absolve the current administration of blame for failing to address the issues they inherited. Not at all. What I take issue with is the attempts of those responsible for the very commissioning of the lame-duck floating bridge, aided and abetted by… Read more »

They look like mourners at a graveside…. If only it were true…


The picture sums it up holding their heads in shame.


Good response, Cameron. How dare they say that they didn’t know that there would be these problems when they were warned by qualified engineers numerous times! And when will they see that this floating bridge will always hurt local businesses and waste taxpayer money for its entire life? We could buy more floating bridges with the amount of money wasted on it!


Time for Cllr. Ward to pull up his trousers and get things sorted-lets face it,he makes Grayling look good.


Ian Ward states, “So this is what it looks like”!


Given the boaty nature of so many on the Island, perhaps a group should get together and create a challenge to run a local service, the non floating bridge specifically. Take a look at the link.


Then different groups could take over the rest of the services. Surely it would not be worse than this car crash council?


Given the amount of expertise and skills on the Island can a new design and costings be come up with and presented to those who hold the purse instead of going around in circles trying to blame anyone in sight (they may be guilty but it is not getting us anywhere – certainly not to E.Cowes).


Dave “I reckon this would be long enough to fill the landslip gap in Undercliffe Drive”

Ian “It would look good in Sandown canoe lake”

Man in hi-viz vest “What about Cowes though?”

Ian and Dave together “What about Cowes”


I think Dave Stewart is saying, ‘watch out! It moved!


Man in hi-viz vest “Where do you two jokers live?”

Dave “Niton.”

Ian “Sandown”

Man in high-viz vest “Thought as much.”…


We need a fixed bridge up river for vehicles and a tunnel at the present site for pedestrians, electric buggies and cyclists. We definitely don’t need another floating bridge .


The tunnel is a good idea in concept, except to make it work for people with disabilities, it would require a long start both ends. That, combined with the depth of the Medina, would mean a very long tunnel unfortunately.


If the will is there the solution’s there.


Relocate it in Dave Stewart’s garden.