In a near-four hour planning meeting this evening, the planning application by Red Funnel to carry out major alterations to the East Cowes terminal and surrounding area has reached an unexpected conclusion.
The surprise: The council’s planning committee voted to reject it.
“Regeneration in East Cowes is no more”
Speaking to the media after the meeting, the boss of Red Funnel, Kevin George, was asked for his reaction, “It’s really disappointing for East Cowes and really disappointing for the Island”.
He went on to paint a dark future for East Cowes, at various times using the phrases, “My concern is that East Cowes Regeneration is no more”, “Effectively East Cowes regeneration is no more” and “On the basis of tonight’s decision there is no East Cowes regeneration now”.
Scale down Southampton terminal
Kevin George went on to say that as things stood, Red Funnel would continue their move in Southampton, but they would down scale their planned terminal there, if the extra traffic couldn’t be handled by the Island end.
“It makes no sense for us to have a large terminal in Southampton and a constrained terminal in East Cowes. If we don’t think that we can resolve the issues here in East Cowes, then we’ll have to consider down-scaling the size of the terminal in Southampton. That will probably mean a new planning application and therefore delays into that.
“We’d still move, but wouldn’t need to the size of terminal that we’re planning.”
He warned, “The £3.7m of Solent Gateway funding is at risk”, concluding that the company would now go away and consider if they would appeal.
Read the live coverage
If you want the full blow-by-blow account of what happened at the meeting, you can read our Live coverage of this evening’s debate on Red Funnel planning application.