Plan to move Wightlink port going to Portsmouth council Cabinet

The Pompey councillor proposing moving the Wightlink car ferry port says it could be better for Islanders and visitors, as they won’t get caught up in Portsmouth city traffic.

Map - Proposed new location for Wightlink port - At International Port

A motion (detailed in full below) was voted through at Portsmouth City Council on Tuesday night.

It’s the first official step in asking Wightlink if they’ll move their Portsmouth car ferry port from its current position to the International ferry port, the other side of the town, near the bottom of the M275.

Portsmouth city council own the land that Wightlink port currently sits on.

This official request will now be considered by Portsmouth council’s Cabinet.

Tackling traffic congestion
OnTheWight spoke to Cllr Steve Hastings, one of the Pompey UKIP councillors behind the council motion.

He said,

“There’s a significant problem with traffic congestion in Portsmouth and it’s getting significantly worse. It makes sense to shift the ferry port – it would be better for the Portsmouth, Isle of Wight residents and visitors.”

Cllr Hastings also pointed out that if the port was moved to the north side of the city, those using the Isle of Wight ferry might find it better, as they wouldn’t need to fight their way across Portsmouth when departing or leaving, “I’m sure all Islanders are familiar with the nail-biting moments of trying to get to the ferry when the Portsmouth traffic is solid,” he told OnTheWight.

Cllr Hastings told OnTheWight that he understood that the Wightlink had previously done trials to the International port.

He said,

“The drawback would just be for the ferry companies. As it’s a little further it would cost them more fuel, so costs their would go up slightly.”

More traffic expected
The area is undergoing much transformation at the moment with the arrival of Ben Ainslie Racing on the land to the right of where the ferry docks. Cllr Hastings says this new attraction will further increase traffic in the area.

If the land were to be freed up, Cllr Hastings says it could be used to build a five-star hotel on it. A high-class hotel is something that has been frequently spoken about in Portsmouth in particular by Donna Jones, the current Leader of the council.

The motion that was voted through

Moving the Isle of Wight vehicle ferry terminal

Proposed by Councillor Alicia Denny
Seconded by Councillor Steve Hastings

Council asks Cabinet to consider encouraging Wightlink to move its vehicle operations from The Camber to the Continental Ferry Port and report back to councillors as soon as possible.

Such a move would have benefits in removing a large number of vehicle movements from the city centre and release valuable land at The Camber for commercial re-development such as a five-star hotel.

Wightlink would have better facilities for docking, customers would have better road links via the M275 and under-used facilities at the Continental Ferry Port would have increased business.

Response from Wightlink
Wightlink Chief Operating Officer John Burrows says:

“Wightlink has no plans to relocate to the Portsmouth International Port.

“This is for several reasons. Firstly, it would increase journey times to the Isle of Wight. Wightlink offers customers an attractively short crossing time of 45 minutes by car ferry. This is a major factor in the success of the company which is a major local employer.

“A longer journey time would make the company’s current fleet unsuitable. To run services from PIP, much bigger ships would be required and this could require more than £100m capital investment in new vessels.

“Portsmouth Harbour is very busy with commercial and naval ships. While Wightlink ferries are occasionally delayed by port movements at present, moving operations much further inside the harbour would increase the probability of major disruption to timetables. Services to France and Spain can manage this risk because a delay of 20-30 minutes represents a small proportion of the journey time, but Wightlink’s frequent commuter-based services would be affected to a far greater extent.

“Wightlink has a long lease (until 2058) on the Gunwharf terminal and has no reason to move.”

(Click on the map to see the larger version)
Map: Proposed new location for Wightlink port - At International Port


Thursday, 19th March, 2015 5:43pm



Filed under: Ferry, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Overseas, Top story, Tourism

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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57 Comments on "Plan to move Wightlink port going to Portsmouth council Cabinet"

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Great idea! A few months ago we got caught in a fun run, there was no mention of this event on the Red Funnel website or we wouldn’t have booked. Took us 2 hours to get through Portsmouth.


Why would be cared Funnel website tell you about something affecting Portsmouth?


Red Funnel, blooming auto spell check!


To alert people to the fact that some of the ferries will be delayed, on this occasion they were leaving from the international terminal. We didn’t know. Some were rescheduled as well. Working together seems like a good idea.


The majority of islanders don’t want the ferries anymore…they want to move forward and away from the old fashioned way of transport. Why don’t Portsmouth council contact the Pro-Link Team and discuss the area where a fixed link could come ashore? 8 different routes are detailed on the 1998 fixed link feasibility study, that was deemed feasible!!


”majority of islanders” WHAT A LOAD OF RUBBISH


Every poll in the last six months has indicated a majority in favour of a fixed link.

The only validated pair of polls – the Government epetitions show a large majority in favour.

Why would you suggest that the statement that a majority want it is a load of rubbish?!

I'll Get Flamed

Those opposed to a FL are terrified of a proper referendum. They have relied for years on the assertion that the majority of Islanders are opposed to a FL because many of the arguments against a FL simply don’t stand up to scrutiny. Let’s have a proper referendum and find out what the majority really do want!

u pay for it then

Nobody is stopping you! Organise and pay for a referendum out of you own money and then you can report back here with an accurate result.

I'll Get Flamed

We both know that for a result to be officially recognised it would need to be officially organised.

If those of us supporting a FL believed that you and your kind would accept the result of an unofficial referendum we would pay for it tomorrow!

It would be really enlightening to see a decent argument against a FL – instead all we get are the usual petty snipes.

Vix Lowthion

So you intend to push a Fixed Link through without a referendum?

IGF “many of the arguments against a FL simply don’t stand up to scrutiny.” Perhaps you could explain: (a) Why a PFI based fixed link (as opposed to a state-funded and operated link) would reduce the cost of crossing the Solent. (b) Given the Austerity budgets promised for the next Parliament (no matter which party is in power), where the state will get the money to fund… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
Cicero – I hope we can both agree that such questions can only really be answered through a professional assessment / study. As an amateur, I can express my own viewpoint which is: 1. there are good examples of privately funded links around the world. Most are significantly cheaper than the IoW ferries. You have previously referenced the Osterund bridge and were only able to find a… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

For those interested in comparing the Oserund Bridge prices with the Isle of Wight ferry prices, here is the link =>

I'll Get Flamed

… and here is a summary of the 1998 feasibility study. Personally, I would like the Council to release the document in electronic form =>


IGF The world has changed a lot in the 17 years since 1998. If a fixed link was a viable proposition, no doubt investment bankers and the UK government would be racing to launch professional studies.

(BTW I could be persuaded that a state-funded FL would be advantageous to the Island but do not believe it will be funded withing the next decade at least.)

Vix Lowthion

In terms of economic growth, HS2 or extra lanes on motorways can be argued to assist the entire country by decreasing journey times. A link to the IW would be a cul-de-sac and would have little to no Impact on the rest of the country. Therefore I think it would be difficult to make a national economic case for investment.

so the FL manics jump in again with the oft told tale of Polls of a few hundred people. Nobody I talk too wants a fixed link and just about every attempt at dialogue about it gets swamped by ‘no fl’ opinion…at best its 50/50. and then onto the point of just why anybody would build a bridge should some idiot come up with the money. Nobody… Read more »
The Sciolist
You avoid the traffic, maybe – but the sailing time would be even longer than the minimum 50 mins it takes already. So the one advantage they have over RF, eg journey time, will be lost. RF it is then? Except RF already has one huge advantage. They appear to care about their customers and offer them better rates for crossing. That said, I would still vote… Read more »
downplay the downside
“The drawback would just be for the ferry companies. As it’s a little further it would cost them more fuel, so costs their would go up slightly.” Garbage. The costs would go up significantly. It wouldnt cost Wightlink a penny – they would just pass on the costs in ticket prices. For that matter – Ive always wondered how Red Funnel seem to be cheaper than Wightlink,… Read more »

Well considering I am 1 of the committee members of the Pro-Fixed link group , all the info we have and are getting is unbelievable, all of the polls are in favour as well as 90% of the people we talk to… And you have no idea of what’s going on behind the scenes or the information we have and are receiving! Lol



I would love to be a fly on the wall at one (or 1 as you say) of your meetings.

Can I ask, are the meetings conducted in the tone / manner of your last sentence above?

I have vivid imagery of you all sitting round blowing raspberries at each other – I’m sorry :(

Top tip for you, leave the public speaking to someone else…….

Just saying.


Kev- from all the information you apparently have- what would be the projected cost of a return journey across the Solent using the fixed link?

Don Smith

downplay the downside’s,

Just stick to Red Funnel, when appropriate.

How we need a fixed link – However, that is forward thinking; far too difficult to comprehend for some.


My first thought was that it’s not a bad idea. My second thought was that foot passengers use the car ferry too and this would be a long way to walk if you’d just missed the last fastcat.

Mark Francis

So nowhere near the railway station then?

Mark W

I love the way all the pro fixed link messages are on negative votes whilst saying everyone agrees with them! WightLink have a point about the water traffic, the road traffic is seldom a problem (when I travel, at least), however you are much more stuffed if you miss the ferry, than a half hour delay. .

I'll Get Flamed

I love the way all the anti fixed link respondents choose which poll to listen to. 17 people vote against a FL and it’s a true reflection of the “majority”. The e-petitions for and against the FL currently show a 3 to 1 vote in favour of a FL. The Isle of Wight Radio poll also showed a significant majority in favour.


IGF- I agree a formal independent referendum is needed as all the “polls” are unreliable because they are self-selecting.

Who will fund such a referendum?


…. further whom would such a referendum cover- Islanders alone or potential visitors as well?

IGF- I love the way all the fixed link supporters ignore the probable financials of such an enterprise, claim that such criticisms do not bear scrutiny and run away from giving opinions on such criticism or backing up their rebuttals with proveable data. I have posted the following- ad nauseam to some people- yet never got an reasoned answer for the pro-link lobby. ………………………….. Time for some… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed

and I have responded previously to all of those points.

If a FL cannot be funded then it will not happen and you have nothing to worry about!

Personally, I believe it will be funded because the business case is more solid than that of the ferries.


GF ” the business case is more solid than that of the ferries.”

If so, why are WL and RF fighting the idea of a FL rather than grasping the opportunity with both hands? Has either subscribed to a feasibility study and referendum?

I'll Get Flamed

Because they are ferry companies and not tunnel / bridge companies.


IGF Nope -they are just investment vehicles looking for the best profit opportunities from soaking the captive market of Islanders whether on, over or under the water.

I'll Get Flamed

RF and WL may be owned by investment companies but they are most definitely ferry companies. I can tell by the ships they drive around.

As for the parent investment companies, I suspect they make their investment decisions based on the usual parameters (investment cash available, opportunities, risk, etc). I am sure that if they were presented with any other opportunity they would consider it.


IGF is that not what I said? The investment banker owners of the ferry companies seek the most profitable way to soak captive markets (Like the Isloe of Wight).

If, as you say, the business case for a fixed link is better than that for ferry companies, why are BBIP and Prudential not seeking the construction of a bridge/tunnel?

I'll Get Flamed
Cicero – thank you for your persistence as you have correctly pointed out an error in my statement. I have stated several times that I believe the business case for a FL is better than the business case for the ferries. I should have stated, “for the Island and Islanders the business case for a FL is better than the business case for the ferries”. Considering the… Read more »
Thanks IGF. I would like to hear your reasoning for ” the Island and Islanders the business case for a FL is better than the business case for the ferries”. Presumably you suggest lower fares would result? Or are you including currently unmeasurable items like convenience and access to hospitals etc in a Cost-Benefit Analysis? (BTW my persistence is to attempt to remove some of the smokescreen… Read more »

the deal is probably already done with Wighlinks new owners – this deal is the icing on the cake for them – I know they dont own the site but they are a ‘developer’

The stringent passport checks on every person leaving from every ferry port in the UK are being brought in a few weeks from now to close the Illegal immigrant security loophole. The unavoidable downside it has been announced is that holiday makers to the continent will face queueing with the lorries for up to six hours in the summer and queues to the continental ferry ports will… Read more »

Oldie – yes I saw that scaremongering as well – in the Daily Mail!

I’m not a Daily Mail reader Richard so I wouldn’t know about that. I’ve seen the summer queues up the M27 to the International ferry terminals with my own eyes and this is without the stringent passport controls coming in. It doesn’t scare me because I never use the International terminal, I prefer to fly to the continent. I’m very relieved that Wightlink have the Gunwharf lease… Read more »
Carole Anne Quinn

if you move you must take Greggs with you. It’s the only thing that I would miss from Whightlinks Gunwarfe terminal.Please move, sure we would all pay the extra. Not having the constant anxiety as you approach Portsmouth would be worth every penny.Also you wouldn’t have folks arriving very late OR very early for their booked ferry. Then your poor but great staff would have less stress…..etc.etc

Jon Combe
I think it should stay where it is. Whilst the roads can sometimes get congested I think it is very rare that delays because of congestion would take longer than the additional ferry crossing time from the Continental Ferry port. So I think Wightlink are right here. Moving it would make it even more expensive to get to the island, as Wightlink would surely increase prices still… Read more »

The toll price would be nothing like the oresund bridge/tunnel cos that is reflected on the wages in Sweden/ Denmark which are 3 times ours…. Put it this way, the most expensive toll in the UK is £6.50 and that is being reduced!


Kev “wages in Sweden/ Denmark which are 3 times ours”

I suggest you do a bit more research into comparative disposable incomes that takes into account the local taxation and cost of living.

You might find that the UK and Sweden are about the same and Denmark in 9.5% better than the UK rather than the 300% you claim.


Well that’s funny cos I have family there and if I worked there I would get 3 times my hourly rate!


What tax rate did you pay? What was the comparative cost of living?

Denmark 46% – 61%
Sweden 0%-57%
UK 0%- 45%

Denmark 25%
Sweden 25%
UK 20%

(BTW I was frequently in Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland vsiting local branches of our international business.)


you can’t have an argument with FLers they have a poll that says they are right

I'll Get Flamed

… and you have?


So why/how did they build a fixed link to the Isle of Skye, when that has less than half of the population we have?? And the brilliant thing is… It still got built when the majority was against it! Lol


Kev read Monbiot’s “Captive State” that documents the Skye Bridge fiasco.

OK Cicero – I’ll bite: 1. A Solent crossing has no chance of being funded by any government while austerity measures are in place Did you miss the Budget earlier in the week? Austerity can end earlier than expected – Georgie Porgie said so. If the £1.5bn second Mersey Crossing has a place in the National Infrastructure Plan (Dec 2014) where the benefits for the approx. 140k… Read more »
Thanks for your considered response Thomas- it is the first time anyone has done so and I agree with your final paragraph, (BTW the National Audit Office provided the figures stating that PFI projects cost 70% more than state-funded projects.) As to the project being run from Westminster, I have little faith in its ability to do so (from experience of my having been in the major… Read more »
I'll Get Flamed
I must add that whilst we may not like the idea of a PFI funding option ….. we already have the equivalent with the ferries. We are already held to ransom by large private equity companies with no regulation on prices. We have no escape clause! With a FL there would be an opportunity to negotiate a deal similar to that with the Severn bridge where the… Read more »
IGF “We are already held to ransom by large private equity companies with no regulation on prices. ” True! “With a FL there would be an opportunity to negotiate a deal similar to that with the Severn bridge where the link passed back into public ownership once the investment had been re-couped.” Unlikely given thst the payback period would need to be decades as the cost of… Read more »