Fixed Link Referendum a Possibility, say local politicians


On Friday November 6th IOW radio held a short debate regarding the possibility of a fixed link for the Island. Chris Whitehouse, Conservative Councillor for Newport West and Secretary to the Conservative group on the Council , Luisa Hillard, an Independent Councillor for East Cowes, and Ian McKee, UKIP candidate for the General Election, debated the pros and cons of a fixed link between the Isle of Wight and the mainland.

The fixed link argument is one that has been around for many years, with many different plans and arguments drawn up. Recent price hikes and service cuts with the ferries has encouraged discussion on the possible benefits of a fixed link and whether it would be a better option for the Island. Luisa Hilliard felt strongly that economic, cultural and social factors must all be taken into account as it would not just affect transport but the whole of Island life as we know it.

The three political commentators involved said our cultural heritage would come under pressure if a fixed link was built. Both Cllr Whitehouse and Cllr Hillard suggested that having a fixed link might offer more cultural and social drawbacks than any possible benefits, whilst Mr McKie decided to ‘sit on the fence’ for the duration of the debate. Whilst the councillors didn’t all agree whether or not it would be a good thing for the Island, they all agreed that allowing the people of the Island to have a referendum on the matter would be useful. The Island’s MP, Andrew Turner, recently gave his support to a possible consultation for all Island residents on the topic, aiming to gauge where Island residents stand on the matter.

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