By Richard Wright

Friday, April 11, 2008


PEOPLE have voted in favour of a fixed tram link with the mainland in a County Press internet poll.

In the wake of the unveiling of a plan for a tram tunnel linking the west of Ryde with Gosport, the question was asked: “Are you in favour of a fixed rail tram link with the mainland?”

There were 1,328 responses and 740 (55.7 per cent) voted in favour. A total of 588 votes (44.3 per cent) were against.

The tram tunnel and a new ferry port on the foreshore to the west of Ryde were included in proposals submitted to the Isle of Wight Council as part of preparation of the council’s Island Plan planning blueprint.

Resistance to previous fixed-link proposals has always centred on a bridge or tunnel bringing large volumes of cars to the Island, destroying what makes its environment special.

Supporters of the latest scheme say it fits Eco-Island aims.

Kevin Smith, chief executive of the IW Chamber of Commerce, Tourism and Industry, said: “A fixed rail link may offer the promise of an environment-friendly boost to the Island economy. The chamber believes it deserves further investigation.”

Cllr George Brown, IW Council cabinet member for the economy, planning and property, said: “While the results of this poll are very interesting, we will have to see whether the desire for a fixed rail link to the Island is backed by surveys, which we will be undertaking following the publication of the Island Plan later this year.

“In the plan, there are a number of submitted proposals for improving transport links to the mainland, including better ferry connections and a fixed rail link from Gosport to Ryde.

“We also need to be sure that ideas such as a fixed rail link are realistic and deliverable if they are referred to in the plan.”

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