THE leaders of the mainland councils, covering areas where the proposed Isle of Wight fixed link would emerge, have given a chilly reception to the revised route plans.

Cllr Sean Woodward, leader of Fareham Borough Council, said he could not see a great future for the scheme, and there was no money to make it happen anyway.

He said: “Clearly a great deal of thought has gone into this scheme but there appears to be a £3 billion black hole in the funding and no sign of anyone stepping forward to fill it.

“It appears to propose a new M27 motorway junction with no support from Highways England or thought for the Smart Motorway scheme now under construction, which includes the new Junction 10.

“There also appears to be a proposal to dig up the runways at Solent Airport along with very extensive engineering and tunnelling works in Fareham.

“I cannot see a great future for the scheme but would be keen to reserve final judgement until I have read the long-awaited ARUP viability study.”

Gosport Borough Council leader, Cllr Mark Hook, told the County Press attempts to find out more detail about the proposals had not proved fruitful, and it was unclear which company or organisation would be taking the project forward.

Cllr Stephen Philpott, chairman of the Gosport Borough Council’s Economic Board, has previously stated there was no evidence a fixed link would be of any benefit to the residents of his town or Central Southern Hampshire as a whole.

Southampton City Council also questioned how the project would be funded.

The No Fixed Link Group said the most recent proposals, revealed last month, were highly flawed.

Spokesman Stuart Brown said: “They appear to be proposing a PPI, two-thirds privately funded and one-third publicly funded project. This roughly would translate to £2 billion private investment and £1 billion publicmoney investment.

“If their figure of £3 billion is accurate, which we feel it is not, then it does not take any account of the borrowing costs attributed to that investment, just the costs to construct it.

“Assuming interest rates stay close to where they are currently, and are unaffected by the potential fallout of a no-deal Brexit, then the project would need to generate in excess of double the current ferry income or in excess of £200 million per year for at least 30 years. This seems excessively expensive.

“It’s also worth noting the new route, which was chosen due to issues with the previous one, is also flawed.

“We remain primarily concerned with the potential damage a tunnel could have on the Island’s marine life, environment, traffic volume, healthcare, crime and tourism.

“There are also no guarantees on any potential cost, toll, location or impact to the environment or Island life.

“The whole concept of a fixed link is entirely theoretical and as such there are no facts, just best guesses and opinion on both sides of the argument.”

The County Press conducted a Facebook poll, purely out of interest, to see whether people were generally for or against a fixed link.

This showed 68 per cent in favour, and 32 per cent against.

Meanwhile, a £100,000 crowdfunding campaign to fund a viability study into a potential fixed link has been launched.

To find out more about the project, go to