Red Funnel announce plans to pursue development in East Cowes

The Isle of Wight ferry company say they will take a two phased approach to the development of their East Cowes terminal. Read the detail through OnTheWight.

kevin george

Billed as being vital to the East Cowes Regeneration and rejected by the Isle of Wight planning committee in April, Red Funnel announce a plan to submit a new application to expand their marhsalling yards and will appeal the rejected application. Ed

Red Funnel has announced today (Friday) its decision to pursue its aim to bring major improvements to cross Solent travel by submitting a revised plan, now in two phases, to develop its ferry terminal in East Cowes.

The new plan has emerged as a direct result of consultation with key stakeholders following the refusal of the previous planning application by the IOW Council Planning Committee in April this year.

£3.7m SLEP funding at risk
The original planning application was rejected due to the perceived loss of employment land in the Seaholme Yard area of Venture Quays, which was deemed to be important for the local economy and especially for marine manufacturing.

The rejection of the plans, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Island, resulted in the £3.7m of Solent LEP funding, allocated for improvements to the public realm, being placed at risk.

Expansion of existing marshalling yards
In phase one of the revised plan, an application will be submitted in August which will expand the existing marshalling yards (Trinity and Phoenix), to include Trinity Wharf and the Redux Industrial Unit, located behind Dover Road.

This will result in an increase of the Car Equivalent Unit (CEU) capacity of the marshalling yard by about 100 and in greater operating efficiency. Traffic flow will be improved within East Cowes, however the main flow of ferry traffic will still be directed via Upper York Avenue.

This option retains the two largest industrial units on Seaholme Yard, thus protecting marine employment, until Kingston Marine Park (KMP) is operational and a seamless move of the businesses to KMP is possible.

Appeal planning decision
In phase two, an appeal will be made against the Planning Committee’s original application refusal.

Red Funnel remains committed to improving the gateway to the Island and truly believes it to be the best long-term option for the future prosperity of East Cowes, the whole Island and Red Funnel.

Retention of some Dover Road properties
This revised planning application retains all the Dover Road properties, although the original plan did not.

Red Funnel believes there is a solution whereby some of the Dover Road properties could be retained with the majority of the original scheme still being delivered.

Red Funnel would like to liaise with the Dover Road residents to discuss this in more detail.

Timing dependent on Kingston Marine Park
If this approach is successful, the actual timing and phasing of delivery will be dependent on progress with Kingston Marine Park (KMP), which Red Funnel understands could be operational towards the end of 2017.

Kevin George, Red Funnel’s CEO said:

“Since April we have engaged in further consultation with stakeholders who were previously both in support and against the original scheme. We have learnt from building Red Jet 6 in East Cowes that not only is marine manufacturing important to the Island’s economy, but to be competitive there is also a need for modern, purpose-built facilities.

“We want to see the marine businesses currently in Venture Quays grow and they can only do that if they have the right space to build vessels, with adequate water access. We have always considered that KMP, which will provide up to 160,000 sq. ft. of purpose built facilities with a 200 tonne hoist, is the right answer. Seaholme Yard only provides 20,000 sq. ft. and a 70 tonne hoist.

“We have been working with the HCA, IOW Council, Solent LEP and the marine businesses to help make KMP a reality, rather than just an idea on paper. Good progress has been made and an application for variation to the existing planning consent has recently been submitted, such that the initial facilities could be available before the end of 2017.

“Under this new two-phase approach for our terminal development, we will not progress to the full scheme until there are suitable facilities to allow the marine industry in Seaholme Yard to move to seamlessly, thereby ensuring the continuity of their businesses and of local employment.”

Outcome of consultation
Kevin George went on to say,

“From the most recent consultation, the issues and challenges facing the residents of East Cowes became even more apparent: in particular, the properties in Dover Road, concerns about the indicative development of the current ferry terminal site in the future and the lack of parking in the town.

“I can confirm that, at this point in time, Red Funnel has no intention of progressing with a compulsory purchase order, although we would like to discuss various options directly with the residents of Dover Road.

“Secondly, in terms of the redevelopment of the Trinity and Phoenix Yard sites, I would like to stress these are only indicative. The outline planning application provides a wide range of possible uses for the land, ranging from residential and retail through to light industrial.

“Lastly, although it is not our role to solve the parking issues of the town, we know we have a part to play and need a location where our customers can park. As a consequence, we are exploring possible commercial parking opportunities in and around East Cowes.

“Many people on both sides of the Solent were dismayed at the refusal of the original scheme. We believe this new two phase approach will give the Island a world class marine manufacturing hub, provide Red Funnel with a ferry terminal that can meet the current and future needs of the Island and help pave the way for the regeneration of East Cowes.”

Image: © BBC South Today

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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11 Comments on "Red Funnel announce plans to pursue development in East Cowes"

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Steve Goodman

Or, RF announce plans to continue to refuse to improve their own site, and to continue to interfere with other people’s lives and land?

Don’t always agree with you Steve but I do on this occasion. This is clearly an improvement but still looks destined to turn East Cowes into a car park. One also wonders why they adopted such an aggressive high-handed approach to the initial scheme. And the obvious question is what will they do if the planning appeal is successful? Will they go with the full-fat or lite… Read more »

They are clearly hoping that they will win the appeal and get their own way eventually. Plan B would remove some of the employment land and leave the Dover road houses surrounded by a marshalling yard so I wouldn’t class it as an improvement ….


I was surprised to read that RF had been in consultation with the residents of Dover road. They must have done this psychically as we have heard nothing from them since before April. They appear to be allergic to the truth.

Having just read the story if Mr George is so keen on his company helping the people of EC might I suggest he train his car park staff better ? many times I have seen his staff causing traffic problems in the town by stopping cars/lorry’s at the entrance to there car park and asking theme what boat they are on when the main car park is… Read more »

Once again the Red Funnel web spider tries to devour East Cowes, I know they are cheaper than Wightlink and that our Town could do with a revamp. But would they give worthwhile concessions to local people? Or am I living in Red Funnel fairyland!

Luisa Hillard

Following the sentiment of my previous ‘open letter’ and following hours of meetings with Red Funnel I’m deeply disappointed.

I am disappointed but not surprised by the Red Funnel decision to Appeal whilst hedging their bets with another lazy plan that will do nothing to enhance East Cowes as the gateway to the Island. Whist Red Funnel “ has no intention of progressing with a compulsory purchase order” at this time I am sure that the residents of Dover Road will not be comforted by this… Read more »

When is the refinancing of Red Funnel due? I suspect this planning application is as much about enhancing the value of the company as it is about operational reasons.
Luisa, do you know?

Tracy Reardon

Come on Mr George do the right thing!!!
Give the Dover rd residents what they want and give us back Pheonix yard as a longstay car park? We don’t need anymore apartments!!!!!


I notice on the plans of the much vaunted Kingston Marine Park(well only by Mr. Bacon), that the only vessels shown on the waiting pontoon and in the dock, are shallow draft catamarans. Obviously due to the lack of water. Perhaps Red Funnel would like to make a commitment to have their catamarans built and refitted by the companies at Kingston Marine Park.