Live: Follow IWC debate on Red Funnel application

Follow the debate by the Isle of Wight Council planning committee on Red Funnel’s expansion plans. Live coverage from 4pm.

County Hall:

Members of the Planning Committee will be considering Red Funnel‘s East Cowes terminal expansion planning application at today’s (Tuesday) meeting from 4pm.

As revealed by OnTheWight two weeks ago, officers have recommended conditional permission for the application which would see the homes on Dover

Red Funnel say the plans form part of the East Cowes Regeneration.

Live updates
The live updates that appear below from inside the chamber at County Hall will automatically refresh in the page. However, to see latest comments added to the article, you’ll need to refresh the page. Items in double brackets (()) indicate comment from the author.

For full details about the application see the officers’ report below. Click on the full screen icon to see larger version.

Image: © Simon Haytack

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

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58 Comments on "Live: Follow IWC debate on Red Funnel application"

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Rod Manley

All trades unionists should support this application to regenerate the area.


Are trades unionists in favour of currently not-existing lower paid jobs in service industries to replace higher paid, skilled jobs that are already on site?

What an odd stance to take.

Vic Lowthion

They really should not support this. It isn’t a regeneration – it is a corporate land grab. There is no evidence it will create many more jobs. There is lots of evidence it will destroy high spec engineering and manufacturing jobs. East Cowes is barely going to see any improvement. Residents are going to lose their homes.

Steve Goodman
We’d all like ‘regeneration’ and improvement, but what is proposed is harmful not helpful. (Again:”RF claim that they need more space for vehicles (which is still debatable), but refuse to improve their existing site (where they could build more decks – like on their ferries and at their planned new Southampton terminal). They are instead demanding a land grab which will, by destroying existing successful businesses, skilled… Read more »
Geoff Lumley

That’s what I say people did when I get all the down arrows :)

Luisa Hillard

@ Rod: I’m sure that trade unionists would support an application that creates jobs in industry.


Looks like you have joined the “anti”-everything brigade, Vix and are never “pro” anything.

Vix Lowthion

I am very much Pro on this issue – just not this proposal. I am Pro the marine engineering jobs which would be lost, pro the industrial heritage of East Cowes and pro real regeneration which protect homes and successful businesses against the irresponsible behaviour of a private company in their town.

Ali Hayden.

Let us see once again who exactly is running the Isle Of Wight.
Planning Officers or our elected Councillors on the Planning Committee.
Money talks, always has + always will.
Permission has already been granted the other side of the Solent!


“He says exec member for planning not here (as on holiday) nor leader or deputy to explain what’s discussions have taken place re jobs.” WHAT????? Not there on one of the most significant matters on the Island- unbelievable. Somebody tell me this isn’t the case.

Luisa Hillard

As far as I’m aware the Leader of the Council was in attendance.

What Cllr Lumley wanted to know what what discussions have been had with those companies which would have been displaced, and that was an important question. Although I can assure you that such discussions have been had, on several occasions (because I was there), this wasn’t actually relevant to consideration of the planning application itself.

Geoff Lumley

The Leader was only there for media coverage before the meeting opened and then left. He could have done with covering for his Executive Member for Planning, who is on holiday

Jonathan Bacon
I was not present for ‘media coverage’. I happened to talk to one of the media representatives present before the meeting who is a personal friend. I was unable to remain at the meeting due to personal reasons. In any event members who are not part of the Committee do not generally attend Planning Committee as they do not have any right or ability to participate unless… Read more »
Geoff Lumley

Not the case. The Executive Member only being an observer is a convenient misconception, not based on our Constitution. Read the recent PAS report that the Executive Member commissioned.

Geoff Lumley

Why wasn’t it relevant Luisa ? It was possibly the most important omission of the evening.


The decision must be based on planning grounds.

Luisa Hillard

Not a valid planning consideration, Geoff.

However, as I said, I do agree with you that such discussions are important.

Geoff Lumley

It certainly was, as it could have reduced the impact on Planning Policy SP3 by making the loss of employment land less relevant if the Executive had credible alternatives.

Luisa Hillard
The Exec member for planning was on a holiday which was booked over a year ago. Not deliberate, just unlucky. I personally expected it not to go to committee until May due to the time it would take to compile the report. Bear in mind that this application was supposed to have come to committee last year but was delayed due the request for additional information and… Read more »
Ali Hayden.

The right decision!
Round 2, I believe same time tomorrow for the other ferry company!

Vix Lowthion

Correct decision to reject the application, and so heartening to read our councillors sticking up for island businesses and residents here.

We all know that this won’t be the end. Red Funnel will appeal. But they must offer East Cowes a better ‘regeneration’ than these plans where Red Funnel dominate and others have to leave.

Thank you, planning committee.


Vix-not on topic, but are you willing to detail your income, benefits and tax?

Vix Lowthion

Green MP Caroline Lucas is the first back bencher to reveal her tax returns – her MP salary plus about £1500 from appearances. I would have my teaching salary PAYE. So not enthralling reading..


Neither was Camerons

Lets see what the Perry’s produces..I think they will be more publically funded than a park bench

Editor’s Note: A reply to this can be found here

retired hack

You’ve now lapsed into gibberish, AP. But thank goodness for a free, diverse (and tolerant) media, eh?

Vix Lowthion

There’s a big difference between our public leaders volunteering such information, and what you are doing – which is hounding people whilst they are at work.


Not that you should, by the way

Steve Goodman

Back on topic, I’d also like to thank the councillors for this decision.

And, once again, I’d like to offer support to Red F. for an application to improve their existing site, which would help all of us, them included, without threatening other businesses, jobs, and homes. And if that incorporates planting on the roof and/or walls, I’ll even offer some voluntary gardening help.

It’s a great idea, isn’t it Steve? The problem is, as outlined in the Red Funnel paid for papers surrounding the application, an application that made better use of their existing footprint didn’t allow them to get hold of any virtually free la…. sorry, was more expensive than other proposals (because the Isle of Wight is SO only worth the cheapest option). Also the cheap option meant… Read more »
East Cowes is a dump, the ferry terminal / parking area is a dump and unsightly. What a lovely welcome to the Isle of Wight. No wonder people prefer to live on the west side of the water. Most of those awful houses on Dover Rd suffer from rising damp, I know because my friend used to live in one. East Cowes needs to move with the… Read more »

No one is debating that East Cowes doesn’t need a little nip and tuck, but the ferry terminal doesn’t need a larger footprint and Red Funnel don’t just get to toss out local small businesses and turn the deep water access into a car park for their convenience.

Possibly, you need to move with the times more than East Cowes?

Diogenese's Barrel

Where do you live Tiki?

The only good thing about West Cowes is the view of East Cowes.

Steve Goodman

Royal E.Cowes is also the only place on the Island where Waitrose is the corner shop.

And yes, RF’s property is one part of town which could be improved – and which should be, now we know that RF are prepared to invest.

Shame that Frank James was wasted.

Luisa Hillard
East Cowes is not a dump. It is underestimated. I’d much rather live here than West Cowes as I did compare the two before buying my first house here. East Cowes is moving with the times, which is why we have so much innovation and cutting-edge engineering here, as well as world-leading aluminium welding. The refusal was based on replacing industrial sheds (with growing businesses) with a… Read more »

The town centre is a dump and there’s no getting away from it, but that doesn’t give RF carte blanche to do whatever it wants – they should have shown some sensitivity to the concerns, but their new boss comes across as arrogant and seemingly thought they could push it through regardless. Now he looks like a fool.

Darren Irving

Could always be the argument that it is cheaper for said businesses to reside here rather than the “other side”
If the businesses are growing and are likely to continue to do so, will they eventually outgrow current premises?


It’ll get permission one way or another sooner or later

Steve Goodman

Not necessarily, as there were good grounds for refusal, and as a disappointed RF might now recognise the value of working with us for the benefit of all.

Geoff Lumley

Sally gave the seven Councillors who voted for refusal. The four who didnt were Cllrs Blezzard, Eccles, Fuller and Whitby-Smith

Steve Goodman

Thanks Geoff.

All votes for, or any abstentions?


Could you list who attended this meeting – including all Councillors. You have listed who rejected the application but I could not see who attended. Thanks – apologies if I missed it.

Geoff Lumley
As Sally reported, the seven members who voted for refusal were Cllrs Barry, Howe, Hollis, Lumley, Nicholson, Price and Stewart. No abstentions. Cllr Hillard, as the East Cowes Cllr, attended and spoke for refusal of the application and submitted a lengthy paper supporting her opposition. A couple of other Cllrs observed, but took no part in the meeting. The Head of Planning and one of her staff… Read more »

Thank you Councillor Lumley.

Mrs Retired Hack

Ooh, there are some harsh critics out tonight. yjc’s comment above has got a red arrow for simply saying “Thank you Councillor Lumley.”

Luisa, well done to you and all the Cllrs and many others who have helped to get this application refused. Can you clarify your comment that discussions concerning jobs within the displaced companies wasn’t relevant. I fail to understand how the loss of highly skilled jobs and thriving companies could not be relevant when the applicant only hoped for ( but couldn’t guarantee) low skilled (seasonal) jobs.… Read more »
Luisa Hillard
Before this rumour gets out of hand what happened was that Geoff Lumley wanted to know what discussions had been had between the Council and the businesses at risk of being displaced. What I said in this thread is that although those discussions did happen they are not a valid planning consideration. Effectively national planning policy ignores such knowledge when deciding planning applications and therefore it was… Read more »
Geoff Lumley

It was a Planning consideration as it would have potentially reduced the impact on Planning Policy SP3, by making the loss of the Venture Quays employment land less relevant to Planning Committee members.

Luisa Hillard
Geoff, I honestly don’t believe that there is anywhere else for them to go. There has been talk of Kingston but no funding has been secured to deliver this and the conditions and environmental consents may make the scheme impossible to deliver. In my opinion we should not be looking at alternative sites but additional sites so that the industry can grow. We know that marine engineering… Read more »
Geoff Lumley

Luisa. I believe you and agree with you ! But someone from the Executive should have advised us of there being nowhere else. No one did, which leaves the question open to challenge. You may live to regret that……

I don’t think the general public will ever know the real truth behind a lot of tonights muscle flexing. I do think its a shame that a BIG opportunity such as this is being ‘marketed’ or ‘reported’ in such a win/lose fashion though. Surely no one can deny that investment/regeneration is needed in the area? But as a ‘big’ company Red Funnel are some how the enemy.… Read more »
Steve Goodman
The (tautological?)’real truth’ being what? Surely tonight was a forced response to the unnecessary RF muscle flexing, which could only ever result in a ‘win/lose’. (Unlike a welcome improvement of the present site?) There is little or no argument about the desirability of investment and regeneration. RF chose to make themselves ‘the enemy’ by trying to destroy skilled jobs, businesses, and homes instead of improving their existing… Read more »
Luisa Hillard
Overner, you are right that Red Funnel are not the ‘enemy’. You are also right that the final phases of regeneration are needed. I expect that you are even right that there would be some objectors to a multi-storey marshalling yard, although there is already planning permission for a multi-storey car park (which was missing from the Red Funnel plan). But what investment have we lost? The… Read more »
phil jordan
Luisa, I do hope you have encouraged the provision of off road car parking in East Cowes in your letter….? The changes to traffic and vehicle ownership in the past 10 years (since the 2007 plans) has changed entirely the landscape for finding parking solutions across this Island. East Cowes, without off road parking and with further residential and commercial development, is going to become rapidly unsustainable… Read more »
Luisa Hillard
Thanks Phil, you are right that parking is very important for the reasons that you mention. I hope that the Parking Strategy may be published soon in order to support this. My letter does not deal with specifics, just an appeal to work with the community on a compromise plan. If he should agree to work with us then there will be a chance to re-address these… Read more »

The most effective thing that Red Funnel could do to stimulate East Cowes regeneration is to substantially reduce fares and radically increase the frequency of sailings.

Jim Moody
It would be interesting to know how many times compulsory purchase orders have been used to assist companies, which only exist to make profits out of those who work for them. Red Funnel does not run ferries out of the goodness of its corporate heart. And councils do not exist in order to help companies – or do they? – using the tired pretext of ‘creating jobs’… Read more »
Man in Black

Thanks for the live coverage. I had hoped to make it along but was tied up with other things, so good to see how it all panned out. Donation on its way to you.

Today’s government policy (who knows what it will be by Monday?) allows for “calling-in” of any infrastructure Planning issue that doesn’t please HMG. At the very least RF will threaten to appeal and IWC will have to back down since it cannot afford the costs of losing. So Mr George will get the last laugh. If calling-in results in Compulsory Purchase for commercial benefit, we need someone’s… Read more »