This in from Karen on behalf of Wightlink. Ed
Wightlink Ferries has submitted planning applications to the Isle of Wight Council and Portsmouth City Council for improvements to its terminals at Fishbourne and Portsmouth Gunwharf to support the company’s proposed investment in a new ship for the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route in 2017.
The £45 million investment will be the largest-ever made by the cross-Solent ferry operator.
Earlier this year, hundreds of Wightlink customers, stakeholders and neighbours on both side of the Solent took part in a major consultation on the plans for a new car ferry, similar in size to the present flagship St Clare, along with improvements to the existing terminals including facilities for double deck loading to improve the efficiency and resilience of the ferry service.
More than 500 individuals and organisations gave their views to senior managers at community meetings and drop-in events at both Portsmouth Gunwharf and Fishbourne terminals or commented online or by post.
They included Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner, Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond, councillors, and people living near the terminals. Presentations were made to Fishbourne Parish Council, Gunwharf Residents Association and the Old Portsmouth and Gunwharf Quays Neighbourhood Forum during the month long consultation period.
Most welcome plans
Most respondents welcomed the proposed investment, with particular mention made of plans to increase vessel capacity and reliability of the service and cut congestion for passengers.
Issues such as traffic movements at both Portsmouth and Fishbourne, ways to reduce noise and light at terminals and the design of the double deck loading ramps were also raised and have been addressed in the planning application documentation.
Isle of Wight Council and Portsmouth City Council will now both hold statutory consultations about the proposals, which are expected to come before councillors for decision early in 2016.
The Wightlink Webpage will be updated with information about the development.