Julia Bridgeman. Picture by Robin Crossley.
A POWERFUL business group is to be formed to buy a stake in Wightlink or Red Funnel to put pressure on them to take into account Island interests.
In a letter to the Isle of Wight County Press Isle of Wight Council leader Cllr David Pugh this week announced a group would be established with the aim of buying a stake in one, or both, of the main routes.
"The Isle of Wight Council would act as a facilitator in looking for people who could bring something to the table to allow the Island to become a stakeholder in one or both of the companies, should the opportunity arise," said Cllr Pugh.
"The group, which will have a strong business background, will draw on local commercial experience."
Meanwhile, the Solent Ferry Users’ Group has been formed to give a voice to Island travellers.
It will be formally constituted at a meeting on January 14 with the aim of being both a pressure group and engaging with the ferry companies.
It was the brainchild of Julia Bridgeman, whose original idea was for the group to concentrate on the Yarmouth-Lymington route in the wake of service cuts.
But she said Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel users had all come forward and it was decided to extend the group’s remit to all routes.
Interim group spokesman Mrs Bridgeman: "The group aims to reach out to Islanders through many mediums, including established representative bodies, social media, open meetings and regular local publications.
"It also aims to engage with the service providers to ensure the voice of the individual can be heard more clearly.
"Anyone interested in being involved in the start up of the Solent Ferry Users’ Group can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org."