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Cowes Floating Bridge: Council launches 'substantial' legal claim

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image copyrightIOW Council
image captionThe £3.2m Floating Bridge Number 6 has been beset by problems since entering service in May 2017

A "substantial" legal claim has been launched by a council over its troubled chain ferry.

Isle of Wight's Floating Bridge 6 has been beset with problems since it launched in May 2017, and was out of action on Tuesday.

In recent months it has also suffered a hydraulic oil leak and had problems with its ramps and eastern prow.

Isle of Wight Council said it was in discussions with contractors in a bid to "recover the costs of any solution".

Speaking at a Scrutiny Committee meeting on Tuesday, council leader Dave Stewart said: "The whole question of the design, build and performance is currently the subject of legal action through mediation.

"While the council has submitted a substantial claim, it is not appropriate for me or cabinet members to discuss this matter further, pending the outcomes of those actions."

'Fuel problem'

Mr Stewart said he hoped the action would be concluded shortly, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

East Cowes councillor Karl Love said it was out of action on Tuesday evening following a "fuel problem". It began running again late on Wednesday morning.

He and some local residents have previously called for the vessel to be scrapped and replaced.

The ferry, which crosses the River Medina between Cowes and East Cowes, was laid up for a week in December due to a hydraulic oil leak.

It was also suspended for three months after a hydraulic fault, found during routine maintenance work in July.

The ferry is due to be suspended again from 09:30 GMT on Thursday for planned maintenance work to replace a hydraulic hose.

Other technical issues since the first launch of the council-run ferry, include broken chains, excessive noise, electrical faults and cars scraping their bumpers.

When the ferry is out of action, a replacement launch operates for foot passengers while drivers face a detour via Newport of up to 11 miles (18km).

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