I read with interest Richard Hollis’s missives on the floating bridge (online, 28-09-21).

Richard Hollis, a conservative ex-councillor attempts, yet again, to re-write history with a misleading narrative surrounding the conservatives handling the floating bridge debacle.

His administration did bring the vessel into service without adequate trials and tests, they did spend millions of pounds trying to fix the faults, they did try to convince the residents of this Island that the vessel was fit for purpose, and then prevaricated on legal process and on dealing with the problem head on.

In November 2020, the SLEP — who funded the purchase of the new vessel — asked for an independent technical report on the issues of the failing FB6.

That request was ignored by the previous administration and left unactioned.

In March 2021, the former leader of the conservative administration claimed on numerous that a legal process was under way between the council and the builder/designer of the vessel. In fact, no mediation process had ever started whatsoever.

Ex-councillor Hollis claims that there should have been a project board. But that is exactly what was in place for the duration of the project with all parties including experts and the SLEP as members of the board. As chair of scrutiny, he would have well known that fact.

And once again, two independent reports have cleared entirely the then independent administration of liability in the procurement of the current Fb 6.

Instead, the Alliance administration has immediately and decisively demanded that the mediation process be undertaken before the end of November 2021. This is currently being arranged.

In addition, the Alliance have started the commissioning of an independent technical report on the vessel which will be completed by the end of 2021 latest and complies with the SLEP requirement and request that the previous administration failed to do.

The Alliance have also placed a moratorium on major capital spend on the FB6 other than for immediate and minor breakdowns to maintain the service.

In March 2022 there is a statutory MCA five-year inspection of the vessel. There is no choice in this four to six weeks removal from service nor for the costs of this inspection of around £250,000.

In stark contrast to the way the conservatives dealt with FB6, their mis-information and their weak and failed attempts to find a solution, the Alliance will, within the first six months of office, resolve the mediation process, will have commissioned an independent technical report and will have resolved all matters directly with the SLEP before taking very clear and decisive action to finally place a full stop on the past four years of incompetence.

Considering all the actions the Alliance are embarking upon a pragmatic and clear and decisive action plan will be implemented and if that indicates a new vessel then the Alliance will not hesitate to take that decision and move this forward from incompetence to a sustainable completion.

LATEST NEWS: Floating Bridge between Cowes and East Cowes off till November

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