Public Opinion – Mainland Resident If you believe your personal life living on the mainland, would be effected either positively or detrimentally by an IOW fixed link, please leave your opinions below? Edit 2 Comments Richard Smithsays: October 2, 2016 at 2:49 pm Edit I moved from the Island in 2015 after the death of my wife, and I have to admit that the caring services on the Island were incredibly helpful during what was an extremely difficult time, as were Wightlink and Red Funnel; Wightlink in particular were very gracious in awarding us half price travel when we needed to cross to Southampton for whatever reason, having established my wife’s condition they did not insist on NHS proof of illness each time we needed to cross. My point is here that the much maligned ferry companies actually do seem to have a heart – I could name some individuals working for them who did more than their job description required them to do. That said, it must be difficult for island residents needing to cross the Solent regularly – the cost and sometimes inconvenience can be daunting. We know the Ferry Co’s are not a charity, but the digital age requires more than a comparison with like operations, such as Caledonian McBrayne who operate in the Hebrides. I made many friends on the Island whom I would like to see more often, I live 90 miles from Portsmouth which is, if I’m lucky, 2 hours along the A27. One has to be very organised in advance to get anything like an advance decently priced crossing, life is no longer that simple, we often don’t get timely notice to be able to just ‘pop’ across and visit friends, much as we’d like to – taking a few quid with us to spend on the Island of course. The obverse of this is the same, it’d be good to see them crossing to visit us sometimes, but the the cost is usually absurd on the face of it…folks just don’t ‘get’ why some crossings are vastly more expensive, with the result that the ferry operators are seen as rip off merchants – which might not actually stand uninformed criticism when the data is examined. A fixed link would revitalise the island, and make it far easier to interact with the ‘North’ Island. Tourism declines would stabilise and then increase, and prosperity for Islanders would increase, as it should. I would visit more often certainly, so yes, a fixed link would be of great benefit to both Islanders and visitors, their families, their businesses and the overall future of the Island. It would be a pity to have the place become seriously useless other than to a few well heeled tourists and increasingly ancient population of elderly folk who rely on health services which are unfinanced by locally created business. REPLY Ian Butchersays: September 3, 2016 at 8:51 pm Edit I am currently living on mainland, but am an Islander (an actual Caulkhead) forced to move away from my family and friends for work. We return on regular basis to visit parents and over last few years have made very regular trips as parents health has deteriorated and spent ages in one of worst hospitals I have come across (St Marys). On every occasion we have had to raise a complaint against the hospital because of really bad care. In some ways pleased that we moved to mainland as my kids got a really good education and straight into jobs, their cousins on Island struggle with dead end jobs and some have been unemployed since leaving school. Our neighbours on mainland were also Islanders (teacher and midwife) who had moved off as no opportunity for them. We have spent thousands of pounds on ferry crossings in last few years and are now returning to Island to be closer to elderly parents. We will now be paying to visit our children on mainland. It seems to me that there are so many narrow minded people on Island who cannot see the damage that is being done to the Island by the extortionate ferry fares, we see it as we have been away as Island deteriorates rapidly. It is beautiful place but really it needs investment and infrastructure to enable it to survive.