Letter: How will IWC cope with the Highways PFI?

One readers asks why roadworks that could be integrated into the Highways PFI are being carried out before the contract starts.

Road works sign

We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with readers. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch. This letter from Jude Ferris was sent yesterday to Peter Hayward and Edward Giles at the Isle of Wight council and she kindly shares it with readers. Ed


The Highways PFI programme, much praised by you and your colleagues, is due to start on 1st April, 2013 (a date the significance of which has not escaped my notice).

Could you, therefore, please explain why the works detailed below together with a myriad of other roadworks are being carried out now instead of being integrated into the PFI schedule?

I have heard the previous excuses of urgent, necessary, essential or vital work. This surely cannot be true in this or many other cases.

My fears of how such a huge project will be managed by you when routine works are so mismanaged remain undiminished.

If you, the IOW Council, fail to build one school with £30million and seven years, how will you possibly cope with £250million.

Judy Ferris

ROAD closures and diversions will be in place next month while Southern Water carries out improvements to its mains network ahead of the building of a new supermarket on the Isle of Wight.

A one-way system will be in place between Newport Road to Seaview Road, Cowes, while a new water main is laid to supply the new Aldi supermarket development at the former BAE Systems site, at Three Gates Road.

The work is due to commence on Monday and is expected to take four weeks.

There will be no access to Newport Road beyond Seaview Road, and access to Newport Road will be via Place Road and Nodes Road.

A traffic diversion will be in place but pedestrian access will not be affected.

Image: Stew Dean under CC BY 2.0

Saturday, 2nd March, 2013 12:07pm


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Filed under: Cowes, Island-wide, Letter to the Editor

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Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.


  1. hmmm smack of cleaning house befor the cleaner arrives so they don’t see how bad things really are

  2. Or…….. as the detail says………the work is actually being carried out by Southern Water……:-/ . Not about road maintenance.

  3. adrian nicholas

    2.Mar.2013 4:17pm

    Whilst separate private utilities and public road maintenance seeming lack of co-ordination seem to be historical.

    I think the current closure of Fairlee and resultant chaos – will sadly be as nothing compared to when the revolting further Walmart/ASDA is finally constructed and in use.
    Pretty sure the consequential entrance/exit snarl ups on the main southern link road into Newport and its position will sadly finally kill off Newport Town as a retail destination – not just be another supermarket -but precisely because of its proposed attractive position along the southern Newport arterial road and before coppins bridge or the morrisons/ms roundabout foreseeable detrimental consequences on the real town.

  4. Re Three Gates Road, Cowes,

    It really is unbelievable that they could not do this water main work when it was already dug up for the “Southern Water” sewer works and the gas board and the electric company.

    Now after said road has been resurfaced (and I use that term with tongue in cheek) they decide to rip it all up again.

    After all, it’s not as though they didn’t realise the site needed water. is it?

    • Chris Newman

      3.Mar.2013 12:19pm

      Surely it’s better that Southern Water dig up the Road before the PFI resurface? – Otherwise you’ll be complaining about all that money spent on a decent surface only for it to be instantly dug up and Patched.

      Oh, by the way, when Southern Water have Patched up their holes, the Electricity Board will be along to dig it up again, because they have suddenly realised that the Store will need 3-Phase and just as they’ve finished, BT will be along to lay the Optic Fibre, after the Traffic Dept have laid the cables and sensors for the Traffic lights…

  5. I can understand that the council is not responsible for water mains or other utilities. I can also understand that these utilities are ageing all over the island and need to be replaced.
    What I cannot understand at all is how so many road resurfacings have been screwed up over the last 3 years. The blackwater and bembridge road melted, green lane in shanklin needed potholes filled about 2 months after it was resurfaced, and the approach along the broadway to the traffic lights by the heights has recently been relaid about 2 or 3 years after it was last done.

    So how can the council manage the PFI? By insisting the contractors use decent materials that will last rather than cheap shoddy tarmac that needs re-laying every few years.
    The final irony is that I know of several places where the quick skim of tarmac done a number of years ago has worn away to reveal the old road surface – which seems to be wearing much better than newly laid stuff.

    But then why would any contractor build anything to last when they can charge the council to do it again in a few years time.

  6. Black Dog

    2.Mar.2013 6:33pm

    I personally have no faith whatsoever in this council running a raffle let alone the PFI contract. This the same bunch under Pugh, Brown, Beynon and Love who allowed the contractor, who’s sub-standard resurfacing melted, to replace the surface just where the wheels went. My question – Was the surface, where the wheels went, the only bit that was sub-standard????? NO NO NO. Why was the contractor not forced to replace the entire road surface??? Who gave the OK for the remedial work and they still employed????

    Once again soooo many questions and no tangible answers

    • Don’t worry- all will be sorted out when the independents get voted in on 2nd May.

      • Don Smith

        2.Mar.2013 9:42pm

        Are you taking bets lardi?

        This is Tory island. Why? Because the working class are far too complacent, and in some cases just too lazy to even register to vote.

        • wightywight

          2.Mar.2013 10:27pm

          @don smith:
          I’ve lost count the times you have said that Don. It’s gonna have to stop now!
          At Local level this Island is NOT and has rarely been conservative controlled for well over 40 years.
          Thats a FACT….. it has been, for much of that time liberal or libdem controlled.
          So, let’s not keep repeating this palpable nonsense….. this is NOT “Tory island” and there is every reason to believe that the newly organised and re-vigorated Independents are in a very strong position to take overall control at County Hall. May 2nd will tell us the answer but in the meantime let’s not start spreading false information inferring and inducing Tory support is huge. It ain’t!
          There is even unrest in the ruling group over their leader……they can smell failure..


          • Don talks as though he is trying to convince people there’s no point in voting for anyone but Tories.

          • I usually find your comments overbearing and arrogant, however in this case we agree entirely. I do however find myself wondering if you have bitten the bait that Don Smith so regularly dangles.

          • I’m sorry you find it so painful to agree with me that you also feel you must be unpleasant to me, ‘a person’.

  7. Oh, I get it now. That’s why so many people are against the Highways PFI – they don’t actually understand what it is for…..

  8. peaceful_life

    2.Mar.2013 10:37pm

    Hi gday2uk.

    Would you care to explain what your opinion on a private finance initiative is please.

    It might help people understand what it’s for.

    Many thanks.

    • PFI information is readily available to anyone who wants to read about it. My opinion of a PFI would not help anyone ‘understand’ what it is for, because it would only be my views on the subject and not a description of the subject itself. My comment was relating to the fact that the Isle of Wight Highways PFI has (as I am aware) nothing to do with a utilities company digging up the road to install services to a new business. I may be wrong, please correct me if you know better.

  9. peaceful_life

    3.Mar.2013 2:05am

    Sure, but then again…that would depend on just what it is you read I guess.

    Indeed it would be your view on the ‘subject’ from which you derive your opinion, the same opinion that leads to (rather condescendingly) make the assumption that others ‘don’t actually understand’, so…based on the information you’ve obtained to develop that opinion…it’s only fitting that you should share that opinion,no?

    I’m not yet prepared to slip into the micro of pseudo nuances while the overall ‘subject’ is slipped under the premise carpet.

    We’re talking about a private…finance…initiative, what’s your personal view on it?….just out of ‘interest’ you understand.

    Many thanks.

    • Mark L Francis

      3.Mar.2013 10:59am

      I don’t think he knows either.

      I once had to find out when a road was dug up to prove the police were lying when they said my wife had overtaken at a zebra crossing which had actually been dug up & closed. Nobody knew anything. British Gas said it Transco. Transco did not know. The council had no idea either. You could dig for coal & stick up a triangular sign & nobody would be any the wiser.
      She got off on appeal.

  10. Black Dog

    6.Mar.2013 10:44am

    The Lunatics continue to run the Asylum. They quite brilliantly scheduled the Chain Bridge inspections to coincide with the road works.

    My award goes to Councillor Giles for mismanagement of the year

  11. Black Dog

    10.Mar.2013 3:09pm

    I believe the following Headline vindicates Ms Ferris – “Floating Bridge annual inspection moved after public voice their views”

    This council really does not know its A£$@ from its elbow. The PFI is going to be an absolute disaster as they can not organize a #*$$ up in a brewery.

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