Wightlink move to Portsmouth International Port would cost ‘more than £100m’

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CALLS made for Wightlink to move its ferries and free up space for a five-star hotel in Portsmouth have been quashed.

Ukip spoke of how the firm should relocate to Portsmouth International Port away from where its vessels currently operate in Old Portsmouth.

Councillor Alicia Denny said such a move would have benefits in easing traffic in the city centre, and release valuable land at The Camber for commercial redevelopment.

But Owen Buckwell, the council’s director of property, has warned in a report that the longer journey time which would result from Wightlink being based at the port would make its current fleet ‘unsuitable.’

He said bigger ships would be required, and a move would require more than £100m of investment by Wightlink in re-tonnage.

The report adds that Wightlink has announced a £45m investment in its Portsmouth Gunwharf to Fishbourne route, which includes the remodelling of its Gunwharf terminal.

Mr Buckwell says this investment should be ‘welcomed by the city’ as it will ‘ensure the continued success of this important local employer.’

The findings are to go before the Tory cabinet.