RED FUNNEL this week exclusively revealed to the County Press its multi million masterplan for developing the East Cowes terminal.

The long-awaited scheme will be carried out in two phases starting as soon as January with demolition of the Trinity Wharf building to give 60 more car parking spaces.

They will then total 230 - or a current boat-load - and prepare the way for the sale of that part of the site for development of a 60-bed hotel, houses, apartments or mixed-use retail and light industry.

The interim development will pave the way for complete re-modelling of the part of the terminal that incorporates Dover Road which was allowed at a planning appeal.

Red Funnel revealed that it has at last bought the White Hart pub which had stood in the way of the comprehensive plan and will knock it down in 2019.

The ferry company is currently locked in talks too with owners of the Chinese takeaway at the other end of the terrace and the two houses next door in Dover Road which are set to remain if there is no agreement to sell.

But Red Funnel revealed it will not seek compulsory purchase and will, if necessary, model its plan around them.

"We desperately need more parking capacity and that is why we are first putting in place the interim plan which will be complete in time to cater for the IW Festival. This year it promises to be a big one," said chief executive Kevin George.

He revealed phase two would create the equivalent of 450 car parking spaces, compared to the Southampton terminal's 336.

"This will be good for East Cowes and the Island economy. It will allow people to park their cars and visit local businesses in what will become an attractive and efficient gateway to the Island separating traffic for our terminal from that going to the floating bridge and the rest of the town," said Mr George.

"There will be a taxi rank, drop-off area and we are talking to Southern Vectis about the best bus route."

The timescale of separate development, not being carried out by Red Funnel, of the adjacent Camper and Nicholson marina and using the Columbine Union Flag hangar for boat storage instead of by the current tenant, Wight Shipyard, remains unclear.

Mr George said Red Funnel remained "hugely supportive" of the creation of alternative marine manufacturing facilities at Kingston Marine Park which the IW Council is trying to progress.

Wight Shipyard built the new Red Jet 6 and is currently constructing Red Jet 7 at Columbine.

It refits the Red Jet fleet too but Mr George revealed the current huge logistical challenge of supporting Island industry. So far it as brought work worth much more than £14 million to the Island.

"A boat hoist that can do the job at Kingston and creating a proper world class facility there are vital.

"For the refit of Red Jet 4 a boat hoist had to be brought in from the West Country to Wight Shipyard," said Mr George.

He revealed all work on the new terminal and roads was now being funded by Red Funnel because the company had been unable to use in time £3.2 million of Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (SLEP) cash which had been pledged.

"But we are talking to the SLEP and to the Isle of Wight Council about a new application for funding to improve the town's public areas," he said.

"We are very excited about starting work after all this time.

"We made our original planning application in April 2015 and won the planning appeal against refusal on August 22 this year.

"When demolition of the Trinity building begins in January it will at last show things are beginning to change."