IF WORK to improve the floating bridge is not successful, the ferry could be sent to Lake Windermere in Cumbria, a report has said.

The report published by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) revealed the problems plaguing the bridge that links Cowes with East Cowes has cost more than £6.4 million so far.

Within that, £539,000 has been spent on a replacement launch service.

The Isle of Wight Council report, published on the LEP website, said: “Some observers have said the design of the bridge means it will never be able to operate to its full specification.”

If the works undertaken on the bridge cannot be successful, the bridge could be scrapped for just £300,000.

The Windermere ferry, which is a similar size to the floating bridge, is 28 years old and due for replacement in 2020.

The report says: “It may be possible to re-use, or repurpose FB6 for use in Cumbria.”

However, the report says both these options are ‘unlikely to be realistic’.

Speaking at a council meeting in September, cabinet member for infrastructure and transport Ian Ward said the service had operated well, at above 90 per cent reliability since March 2018.

Cllr Ward said: “This is a reliable craft as it stands. All people hear is negativity, but otherwise it’s doing pretty well.”