Solent LEP consultation a ‘spectacular catastrophic failure’, says councillor

The Isle of Wight councillor for East Cowes says the Solent LEP consultation for the floating bridge was a “shockingly poor example of community engagement”.

Karl Love

The public consultation organised by the Solent LEP on the revised business case for Floating Bridge 6 has been labelled a ‘spectacular catastrophic failure by the East Cowes Isle of Wight councillor.

Last October OnTheWight revealed the consultation had begun, with apparently little promotion from the Solent LEP.

Only 14 Island responses
A post-consultation report has been made public by the Solent LEP (embedded below for your convenience).

It states that just 14 responses were received from the Isle of Wight.

  • One response from a stakeholder group
  • Two responses from public authorities
  • 11 responses from individuals A number of responses were duplicates (i.e. from individuals but have been included in an organisation’s response).

13 of the responses raised issues with the project and one response was supportive of the project.

Love: Incredibly poorly advertised
Isle of Wight councillor for East Cowes, Karl Love told OnTheWight,

“If you recall this is the consultation that was incredibly poorly advertised at its outset and so is it any wonder that just 14 responses were received from our entire Island population!

“The Consultation is a ‘Spectacular Catastrophic Failure’ and I wonder how much it has cost tax payers to produce this report?

“Such a response cannot represent any kind of perspective on which policy or future actions are based.”

Love: Island response is barely registered
Cllr Love goes on to say,

“Ironically the summary states “TOGETHER.STRONGER”. The report is far from representing ‘being together’ in any sense of the word and there is no strength or power that comes from an Island response, which is barely registered on any scale.

of an island representation.

“It’s not even representative of a damp solent squid! How can they even contemplate using just 14 responses to “inform the ongoing monitoring of the floating bridge 6 project”?

Stakeholders respond
A spokesperson for the Floating Bridge Stakeholders Group said,

“We submitted several hundred pages demonstrating that the floating bridge has hurt the economy and, in our opinion, the Council appears to have provided deceptive information to the LEP in their business case. 28.3% pedestrians use this floating bridge since charges were introduced (based on 2014 numbers).

“The Solent Local Enterprise Partnership funded a new floating bridge to help local businesses and the economy; what is the LEP’s answer and their solutions that will provide a floating bridge as good the last one, in order to prevent even more damage to local economy and businesses?”

Love: Shockingly poor example of community engagement
Cllr Love finished by saying,

“The Solent LEP should be embarrassed by the production of this report and start the whole Consultation again and this time use strategies to reach out to the whole community to determine the real consensus of our local and Island community.

“It’s a shockingly poor example of community engagement which is then used to shape action future funding investments.”

Image: © With kind permission of Allan Marsh

Friday, 12th April, 2019 1:44pm



Filed under: Cowes, East Cowes, Island-wide, Isle of Wight Council, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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9 Comments on "Solent LEP consultation a ‘spectacular catastrophic failure’, says councillor"

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Is it true that the Leader of the Isle of Wight Council Cllr Stewart, who together with Chief Executive Mr Metcalfe, is responsible for delivering the Floating Bridge service, is actually a member of the Solent LEP Board who wrote this report?


The LEP have their own agenda unfortunately…. and iow consultations are clearly just PR lip service.

The SLEP has its business controllled by the LEP Business Director.

Who is that?

None other than Chairman of the Red Funnel Group – Kevin George.

The same old faces everywhere.. controlling the island for their own shareholder best interests.


Would IW Councillor Love let us know what his comments were to the LEP Consultation please.

Benny C
For the second time, can I ask why doesn’t the local councillor refer this to the Local Government Ombudsman? The website gives all the details. This matter qualifies, no question. Or is he in fact part of the problem? Why is he being so ineffectual? Afraid of upsetting his mates at the council who created this? Worried about his committee seats and expense account? I know it… Read more »

The understatement of all time: “FB6 has experienced operational challenges” I could have phrased this more clearly

Sorry for my slow response in this thread. I don’t often enter this or other website forums to discuss. I tend to use Facebook for discussions. I find that more engaging and user friendly. I referred the Floating Bridge to the most appropriate routes, as I see fit, at the time of publishing, I have referred this to the Health and Safety Executive who have the best… Read more »

Wow, must admit I am shocked that only 14 people sent comments to the LEP consultation – there has been a lot of coverage and most seem to think that there are flaws (judging by engagement on social media) with this new and improved floating bridge – but I guess people have weighed it up and think, it will do? Feeling confused


tracy, the consultation wasn’t well advertised at all. Also note it wasn’t 14 people: there was a large stakeholder group that submitted 100s of pages to the consultation and both the Cowes Town Council and the East Cowes Town Council, represented all of the residents and business owners of both towns, submitted to the consultation.


Additionally, no one thinks it will do; 71.7% fewer pedestrians are using the floating bridge and many fewer cars. It’s hurting the economy. It won’t do.