Blocking the view of ferry passengers is bad planning

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It has cost £5m and aims to provide improved facilities for the many people who use the Gosport ferry service to get across the harbour.

Though questions were asked about why it was built in The Netherlands rather than this country, there’s no doubt that the shiny new glass and metal pontoon is a big improvement on the old one.

There’s a screen showing live train times at Portsmouth Harbour and another screen which can show videos, websites and adverts. Seats are also being installed and the environment is a pleasant one.

But in among all the good news, there seems to be one big design flaw.

For some baffling reason, the pontoon has been constructed in a wedge shape so that passengers in the centre of the queue can’t see the Spinnaker Tower and other harbour sights.

While passengers at the head of the queue can look out through a set of 7ft double doors and those at the back get to admire the view through wall-to-ceiling glass windows, those unlucky enough to find themselves in the middle have to look at a big steel wall.

There was a great opportunity with the new pontoon to make the most of the impressive vista. So why on earth has it been blocked out for some?

Though the overall look of the pontoon, designed by consultants Atkins Ltd, seems to have gone down well, there is clearly an issue here. Was something as important as a view simply overlooked, or was it a case of form triumphing over function?

We find it amazing that at no point in the process did anybody from the company or the council say: ‘Hang on a minute, what about the lack of any view for some passengers?’

We have a fantastic harbour and people should be given every opportunity to enjoy it, not find it hidden from their sight.

Keith Edwards, general manager of the Gosport Ferry, said: ‘We have heard these comments. It depends where you stand but we can see their concern.’

Meanwhile many passengers can’t see the harbour – and that has to go down as bad planning.

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