New Wightlink ferry terminal in Portsmouth gets green light despite traffic concerns

A MULTI-MILLION pound plan to build a new ferry terminal in Portsmouth has been approved - despite concerns the development will pile more misery on the city's congested road network.

Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 5:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 31st March 2016, 12:11 am
A computer-generated image of the proposed new Wightlink terminal in Portsmouth

Wightlink got the green light from the city council today to construct a new three-storey terminal, off Gunwharf Road, to include a second-tier car deck so more passengers can get to and from the Isle of Wight.

The company says it’s part of a £45m revamp of its Portsmouth to Fishbourne ferry route. But residents fear the traffic impact has not been considered properly – and say the new building will damage the character of the area.

Gail Bird, deputy chairwoman of the Friends of Old Portsmouth Association, said: ‘We request the committee delay a decision until traffic issues are scrutinised and independently assessed by the council. We are concerned the expansion will bring more congestion, more traffic misery and pollution.’

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Marti Kapitany, of Old Infirmary House, said: ‘Our windows overlook the terminal, so if this proposed development is approved and the second tier is built, we would have a significant loss of privacy. If these cars have a view into our property, we will constantly have to keep our curtains closed to stop people peeping into our lives.’

Colin Mathew, of King Charles Street, said: ‘This development will upset the wider views, like with the other developments that have upset the area, like the Ben Ainslie Racing building, and the colouring of the Spinnaker Tower.’

But Wightlink is confident the move will take cars off the road and relieve pressure on the Gunwharf Road car park - which closes up to 20 times a year to accommodate ferry passengers waiting to get on board. The move will protect 550 jobs. Elwyn Dop, Wightlink operations director, said: ‘This is a key moment for Portsmouth. We want to provide a ferry service that meets our customers’ needs, providing the right capacity when they want to travel.’

Mr Dop added: ‘Our proposed new terminal will reduce traffic congestion on roads by providing more boarding lanes at Gunwharf terminal. We have also proposed a safer terminal, with enhanced safety for cars and cyclists.’

Labour councillor John Ferrett said: ‘I think the economic benefits outweigh the concerns that have been expressed.’