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Why is there a need for an Isle of Wight Fixed Link?
- The PRO-LINK Campaign for an Isle of Wight Fixed Link, is to facilitate a means whereby islanders have a similar freedom of access to the opportunities and aspirations that others enjoy on mainland Britain… including healthcare.
- PRO-LINK respect that in the past, the uniqueness of being an isolated “island” population has been considered a blessing. However, two corporately run ferry businesses profiteering at the expense of the island’s welfare, is not considered an attractive “uniqueness”.
- Evolution dictates the time has now come to change the island’s path into the future. Cross Solent transport has to now adapt to the efficient and speedy travel expectations of 21st century business, tourism, healthcare, education and social commitments. At present, all are suffering due to the island’s isolation. Some people resist change due to the fear of the unknown, but change is now gradually but surely occurring detrimentally, without ease of cross Solent access. Many aspects of island life are now suffering…worsening as the island’s population inevitably increases.
- Ferry crossing schedules have been severely reduced over the recent years and fares have increased… becoming more demand driven. This combination provides an unaffordable barrier for those on an average island wage to venture off the island. £200 return crossing for a car is not uncommon during the summer months… sometimes even £250. Standard return passenger fares top £80 – £100. Island tourism has been greatly affected by the advent of Booking .com and other web based accommodation providers. Once booked, prospective hotel or guest house customers then try to book a crossing to the island by ferry, only to find there is no availability or the price is prohibitive. This is creating havoc not only with tourism, but also business and personal lives.
- The Solent ‘barrier’ has now in the 20th and 21st century, caused a continuing spiral of low wage / high unemployment socio-economic deprivation… while the surrounding South East mainland enjoys vibrant success, social mobility and investment. Connected by road tunnel to relieve the isolation it will still be an island, with the ability to create opportunities lacking at present.
- With fast, easy and reliable access, the Isle of Wight will have the potential to become the most desirable place in Britain to live, visit and perform business. The Solent Freedom Tunnel will present the foundations for island success to build on.
So what is holding up progress?
- The island’s MP- Bob Seely has personal associations and interests with both powerful and influential ferry companies and is purposely obstructing studies and progress. The MP’s cousin – Patrick Seely, is a Director of Red Funnel. The MP’s close friend, advisor and campaign manager since 2009 David Pugh… owns lobbying company ‘Chine Consultancy’, whose major client is reputedly Wightlink. (David refuses to release the company client list). The MP has actively attempted to dismantle this campaign many times… read more.
- The IOW Chamber of Commerce ( COC ) is heavily controlled by the three cross Solent ferry companies, which in turn affects IOW Council policies… read more
The PRO-LINK intentions are to:
- Campaign for and achieve a 21st century technology 24hr, 365 day alternative to the now outdated 19th century sole ferry option . A fixed link tunnel will enable people to make an immediate, reliable and seamless 6 minute vehicular journey from Whippingham IOW to the Daedalus Enterprise Zone at Lee-on-the-Solent… and then 4 more minutes underground to the M27, while avoiding both traffic laden cities of Portsmouth and Southampton. ….. Read More
- Establish and expose why IOW institutions, the MP and the IOW Council administrations continually and repeatedly resist standing up to the IOW Ferry Companies… while customers complain and the socio-economic welfare of the Isle of Wight suffers? Pages to explain what is happening are: Ferry Company Control and also the ex MP and the previous IOW Council. The new MP – Bob Seely, while not ever having lived on the island, does have personal interests within the ferry companies himself.
- Facilitate the implementation of an independent Fixed Link Tunnel Viability Study. A new company – Able Connections Ltd, is now providing the necessary framework to communicate with the authorities and procure the required viability and feasibility studies. This will establish the best way forward for the island’s cross Solent transport links… the details of the 2016 PRO-LINK plans.
Since 2014, PRO-LINK has developed a line of route for the tunnel scheme that has support from the mainland authorities, with the IOW Council officially endorsing support for a feasibility study. Initially though, a ‘viability’ study needs to be performed which will confirm whether the scheme can be paid for by both Tunnel toll income and regional economic benefits providing UKPLC with a higher tax revenue. The scheme is definitely feasible as has been proven many times around the world… so if it is ‘viable’ and the benefits are substantial enough, it can be constructed.
How are we getting on so far?
- It has been a long haul with many obstacles, with more no doubt to go… but we’ve managed to get more information out there, with more people and more authorities involved than ever before.. it’s going well. Infrastructure giant ‘ARUP’ has now proposed a viability study. …. Read more