Posted on 26 Apr 2008
The following points have emerged from meetings with interested parties and residents in West Wight. At the Yarmouth end of the route there is a different emphasis on the issues from that in Lymington. Focus is on traffic issues.
- All residents support the need for a modern, reliable ferry service.
- Operational risk and environmental damage are not major issues. However there are points in the Lymington risk assessment that should be followed up as relevant to Yarmouth.
- Marshalling of vehicles waiting to load is already tight at peak times and traffic backs on to the main road. Increased loads will be difficult to manage without finding new solutions. A proposed new layout which impacted on the coach stops and roundabout was recently rejected. The land affected is partially owned by the YHC and partly by the Council. All these issues are serious and outstanding. Long term, flood defence requirements are likely to further limit capacity. There is concern that this issue remains unresolved.
- There is considerable conjecture that whilst current Wightlink management have publicly stated that commercial policy with regard to heavy commercial traffic will not change, this is voluntary and could not be enforced if management or ownership were to change. A policy change would have a considerable adverse impact on residents, enjoyment of the harbour and the West Wight roads.
These concerns are increased by information available about the vessels and other related issues:-
- They are ‘designed for … change in traffic mix on the route’, have ‘flexibility to carry a greater and more varied traffic load’. (Ref Wightlink website)
- They have a much greater carrying capacity for heavy, large vehicles than the current vessels with the increased height being particularly notable.
- The substantial investment will require a new level of financial return. Increased capacity utilisation is a particularly well known method to achieve this. Handling more, larger commercial traffic outside of peak car and coach movements is now possible.
- There is already great pressure on the access roads to Fishbourne so switching could be forced on Wightlink.
Reported by SPS Council Member Antony Matusch