‘Fury’ of Mainland councillors over lack of consultation on fixed link proposals

Mainland councillors have expressed ‘fury’ at proposals for a Solent Tunnel and they say, the lack of consultation with them. Those responsible for the plans say councillors are “difficult to pin down” and blame Mainland council transport officers for not passing on details.

Artists impression of the Solent Freedom Tunnel portal at Whippingham, IOW.

Councillors on the Mainland have expressed ‘fury’ at learning through the press of proposals for a Solent Tunnel fixed link between the Isle of Wight and the Mainland.

The Southern Daily Echo is reporting the views of Fareham Borough council’s leader, Cllr Sean Woodward, over the “£1 billion Cross-Solent tunnel project that could cause traffic ‘chaos'”.

Fareham Council leader: “Unrealistic and unfunded project”
Cllr Woodward told the Daily Echo,

“I am very surprised, given that there are by definition two ends to any tunnel, that we have still received no contact whatever from the promoters of a project that would have a major impact on the Borough of Fareham.

“This does nothing to enhance the credibility of this on the face of it unrealistic and unfunded project.”

Pro-link: Fault of council officers
Proposals for the tunnel came to light for Mainland councillors following a presentation made by Pro-Link and Anti-Link campaigners to Isle of Wight council last night (Monday).

In response to today’s Daily Echo report, Carl Feeny – Pro-link campaigner – says the team did consult with the relevant local authorities on the Mainland, adding that councillors not being aware of the proposal is the fault of their council officers.

He said,

“I’m astonished that councillor Woodward is unaware of these meetings having taken place. We described the scheme in fair detail that if councillor Woodward was aware of, he would understand that the scheme will provide vast benefits to his area regarding transportation of public and personal vehicles underground and the agglomeration of different public transport modes around the Solent region. The social and economic benefit to the area will be immeasurable.

“We are ready to speak with Councillor Woodward at any time, he has only to contact us. We are sorry he’s had his ‘nose put out of joint’, but quite simply, he should have been informed by his transport department.”

Feeny: Councillors “notoriously difficult to pin down”
The proposed exit points for the Solent Tunnel were revealed in May 2017 by Carl Feeny and Kevin Price of Able Communications – the company set up to take the project forward.

OnTheWight got in touch with Carl to find out who he has been in contact with at the Mainland authorities and when. He told us that contact was made with Mainland council transport officers around May time this year.

Carl confirmed he’d not contacted councillors directly, adding they are “are notoriously difficult to pin down”.

He said,

“The IOW regeneration team recommended we seek approval from the transport depts on the Mainland before we seek it from the LEP. The councillors were not part of that equation and are notoriously difficult to pin down as elected people, rather than paid qualified ones.

“We needed to deal with professionals. Those professionals should then pass on the info to elected members.”

Gosport: “Traffic caused by tunnel would not be welcome”
Chair of the Economic Development Board on Gosport Borough Council, Cllr Stephen Philpott, told the paper,

“We have been working very hard with Fareham councillors and county councillors to secure substantial investment in road infrastructure, some of which is in the pipeline to be delivered while some of which is being developed.

“These developments are being made to address existing transport problems in Southern Hampshire where many of our trunk roads are at already or above capacity at peak times and therefore any additional traffic caused by this tunnel project would not be welcome by people in this area.”

Read the Daily Echo article in full.

Stay up to date with the latest Fixed Link discussion through the Facebook Group.

Tuesday, 5th September, 2017 2:05pm

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

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15 Comments on "‘Fury’ of Mainland councillors over lack of consultation on fixed link proposals"

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hermit

Ha Ha! Never gonna happen

Caconym

Ha ha,

Yes it is.

IW Radio just did a poll. 60% in favour, 35% opposed, 5% unsure.

greatergood

Surely only a valid result if
1. You are a listener or reader of iwradio
2. They poll everyone on the island and affected mainlanders
?

Rhos yr Alarch

Their fury only lends unwarranted credibility to the whole highly-flawed proposals…

block8

I wonder if the next impression of the tunnel could be in black and white as it’s much more fun to colour in.

That is, after all, about the level of it all.

greatergood

Hmm no real surprise, Messrs Feeney and Price have dropped a clanger there then, not very professional at all!
Still it must be hard with Carl doing all the legwork now seeing as his able communications founder partner permanently works in Saudi!

egros

Seems to me that the pending trafic chaos is only from the vehicles that already do the journey anyway?
In other words stop the scaremongering and get down to the actual proposal.

carlfeeney
Councillor Sean Woodward has to understand that it has taken PRO-LINK nearly 3 years of campaigning to be given the opportunity to present in front of the IOW Council. The IOW Council is the first point of call. PRO-LINK through Able Connections Ltd, HAVE most CERTAINLY consulted with the mainland authorities… including Fareham, Gosport, Portsmouth, Southampton etc… including the Gosport MP. We consulted with their transport departments… Read more »
greatergood
Mr Feeney, First off councillor Woodward doesn’t “have to” do anything, inferring that your cause is maybe more important than any other business he may have is a tad over zealous to say the least! Maybe the various “transport departments” mentioned above had treated the emails with the gravitas that they deserved? We’re all the contacts made by email? Why weren’t there face to face meetings and… Read more »
kirkauld
Surely rather than making decisions following a private meeting councillors should ‘officially’ consult with Isle of Wight residents as to their wishes. This feasibility study is going to cost a fair bit of money and therefore rather than listen to a few vociferous people from either side of the debate ask the people the majority of which have no agenda, hidden or otherwise. The council represent (or… Read more »
Colin
One of the benefits of a fixed link is that it would enable so called “travellers” to get to the Island and set up camp anywhere they choose just like happened on Skye. It cost the council thousands of pounds to deal with the problems they caused there. Imagine the more rural places on the Island such as Compton and Brook with their vehicles filling the car… Read more »
Caconym

Because, obviously, the “travellers” would be quite happy to pay to cross to the IW instead of just pitching up somewhere else on the mainland?

davee

Another benefit is that, landowners with land unsuitable for solar arrays, could use it as sites for all the extra caravans that will arrive.

carlfeeney

This statement by the leader of the Fareham Council is false. There is of course perhaps a chance that the DailyEcho has misrepresented his statements? If you have any doubts… please look at this link to a Facebook post in June:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/iowfixedlink/permalink/1219130784864446/

bbrown

It is all very well posting links to your facebook group but if your blocked you have no chance to view it.