A NEW Isle of Wight Council report published today (Wednesday) has provided an update on the floating bridge and the ongoing legal case surrounding it.

The paper, to go before Cabinet members next Thursday, sets out the case for commissioning an independent review to determine whether the vessel is fit for purpose.

This is in relation to the original specification and operating requirements.

Last week, the council confirmed the floating bridge is not set to return to service for at least another month, and apologised for the ongoing disruption to the service.

It is now not expected to resume until mid-November.

The local authority says the study has been requested by the main funding partner for Floating Bridge 6, the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership (SLEP), and will be completed by November, 2021.

The report will help inform future decisions including, if appropriate, a list of further actions required to be taken to the current vessel or the production of a suitable business case for any replacement.

Today's Cabinet paper also confirms the council continues to be involved in a legal action against both the naval architects and the boat builders to seek recompense for the poor performance of the vessel and other associated costs.

An agreement has been reached between the three parties to seek to settle the dispute through mediation in an effort to avoid lengthy and costly court proceedings.

It is intended to complete the process by the end of the year.

Cabinet members are being asked to note the contents of the paper and approve the production of a further report to be presented to councillors early next year with further options.

Councillor Phil Jordan, Cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, said: "The paper proposes a necessary, yet considered way forward to assist the council in taking the best possible decisions to resolve the current challenges and achieve the required performance levels in the future.

"I would want the public to understand that we have no choice but to carry out the independent report and conclude the mediation process before we can take any final decision about the future of the floating bridge."

To read the Cabinet paper in full, visit: www.iow.moderngov.co.uk/documents/s4962/Report.pdf