£25m boost for Isle of Wight projects

By Ross Findon

Monday, July 7, 2014


£25m boost for Isle of Wight projects

Red Funnel is to move and improve its East Cowes terminal. Picture by Chris Thwaites.

UPDATED 12:21*

A £25 million boost has been given to major projects for the Isle of Wight, including a new composites training facility and moving and improving Red Funnel’s East Cowes ferry terminal.

Following a joint bid by the Isle of Wight Council, Southampton City Council and the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), the cash has been awarded from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Local Growth Fund.

Red Funnel’s plans to change its East Cowes terminal, along with development work in Southampton, were revealed by the County Press in January and will receive around £14 million.

As previously reported, they will also expected to include a new floating bridge, as well as improve access to the waterfront from the town centre.

If planning permission is granted, work could start in 2017 and be completed in 2020. The majority of new jobs directly created however, are expected to be in Southampton.

The new Composite Centre of Excellence will be led by GKN and developed at the Island Technology Park, Whippingham, next to the GKN Research and Development facility.

It will be able to handle around 600 students and apprentices at a time. It will receive £10.9 million.

MP Andrew Turner said: "The Island has done well out of this round of funding announcements. The Solent LEP chairman Gary Jeffries told me last week that the quality of bids to the Solent Growth Fund from small businesses on the Island is also high, so there is likely to be even more good news over coming months.

"Along with recent confirmation that most of the Island has qualified for the Assisted Area Status map for the next seven years, it shows that this Government understands the unique challenges facing the Island’s economy and is prepared to help address them.

"I’m meeting Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP, Business Minister in Southampton later this morning, along with representatives from the Solent LEP, the Council and Red Funnel. I’m sure we will all be united in welcoming these announcements."

Isle of Wight Council leader Cllr Ian Stephens said: "The investment announced today, for improved connectivity to the Island, is critical for businesses and residents here and will unlock major growth opportunities for us.

"We welcome the opportunity this project will bring to secure our connection to the mainland and improve our economy through an increase in the number of visitors to the Island.

"I am also pleased at the benefits it will bring to East Cowes allowing us to bring new life to the town centre and create opportunities for investment and employment while improving the connectivity with West Cowes through the provision of a new floating bridge."

Isle of Wight College principal Debbie Lavin added: "This is a massive breakthrough for the Isle of Wight. The new centre will create a world-class workforce and help to assure sustainable long term economic success for local people and the island as a whole."

Red Funnel chief executive Kevin George said: "We were delighted to see Government recognise the unique challenges that need to be addressed in relation to connectivity to the Isle of Wight and welcome the backing they have provided to fund the public infrastructure needed to develop the waterfront access in Southampton and East Cowes." 

The news was also welcomed by the Isle of Wight Trades Union Council (TUC). 

Spokesman Steve Butler said: "Let's just hope that this re-balances the job losses suffered by the Isle of Wight at Vestas a few years ago and the brave efforts of workers to keep jobs on the Island."

Reporter: ross.findon@iwcp.co.uk


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Displaying the last 10 of 44 comments - Show All Comments

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by Mike Crowe

9th July 2014, at 07:46:20

Round the Island in 1956 was 8 shillings and 6 pence

If you want to compare the value of a £0 8s 6d Commodity in 1956 there are three choices. In 2013 the relative:
real price of that commodity is £9.26
labour value of that commodity is £22.00
income value of that commodity is £25.81

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by john hanson

8th July 2014, at 18:25:15

Yes but back in the 50s and 60 s da trippers came on foot and the ferries and buses were cheap and coach firms did day trips around the island

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by John Stone

8th July 2014, at 16:22:32

I'm with Carl on this - have a look at the northern end of the Oresund Bridge which is part bridge part tunnel.

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by carl palmer

8th July 2014, at 13:53:05

mike - and it should be again as its one of the best beaches in the area but not worth £70 return for most people. a trip to the seaside is one of the few things that has remained through the generations. its still the highest ranking day trip. some people don't realise the real draw the sea has, some people will drive for hours to see it as lets not forget for those living inland they may never get to see open water.

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by Mike Crowe

8th July 2014, at 13:48:00

Sandown used to be like that every year during the height of the Summer, certainly up to the late 50's

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by carl palmer

8th July 2014, at 13:44:04


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by carl palmer

8th July 2014, at 13:30:21

Annabel - just take a look at this link and see what "just a beach" can achieve http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/uk-weather-end-of-summer-with-cold-1315732
now if you look closely you can see all the vendors in the background rubbing there hands together. if each of those people spent just £1 that would be a serious boost to the independent local traders. ask yourself why they go to an unpleasant stony beach instead of the beautiful sands the island has to offer, could it be £70 and having to stick to a timetable? or are they all just stone collectors? we need people spending there money with the local independent businesses and they can only do that if they can get here without being fleeced first.

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by carl palmer

8th July 2014, at 13:18:40

and for all those who support the "it will take up too much room for the on off ramps" theory have a look at this linkhttp://singaporeseen.stomp.com.sg/singaporeseen/this-urban-jungle/double-spiral-bridge-in-japan-brings-you-on-a-roller-coaster-ride

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by carl palmer

8th July 2014, at 13:14:08

I also think you do the island down when you suggest that if there was bridge people would choose to stay in Portsmouth and just cross for the day with a packed lunch, why? if people drive to Portsmouth the only reason they choose to stop there is because of the cost of getting here, if they could just drive on past Portsmouth and stay directly by the beautiful sandy beaches and visit the places you assume they would want to see at the same time why would the stop? big assumption there or do you not think it is worth driving on for a few more miles? I begin to question your faith in what the island has to offer. all the "up market" places would still be here for those who currently visit them and does anyone really care if on top of them we get some of the 100,000's of people who live within an hours drive of here but don't come because of the cost, why would they when for a day trip they have great attractions within cheep easy reach .

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by carl palmer

8th July 2014, at 13:07:38

Annabel - sandown is a beach, that's tru and if you want to see how many people are drawn to the beach as day trippers just look at Brighton on a sunny day and that's not even a nice beach but it is day tripable. you talk as though a bridge would stop the current visitors, why? current tourism would still exist and be supplemented by the addition of day trippers, anybody who thinks for even 1 minute would see that. why also would you assume that day trippers would be coming for godshill and the like, the biggest by far summer day trip is to the seaside, the beach if you want proof closer to home go to ryde in the summer and see the people get off the hover and straight to the sands. we have some of the finest beaches on the south coast but people don't want to pay £70 to visit them. ask the ice-cream vendors, cafes and bars that line our coast what a boom a few hundred day trippers would be. ease of access will increase trade, its that simple

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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