Mon. May 16th, 2022

Isle of Wight Observer News

The Island's Free Newspaper

Cabinet Connection – Phil Jordan Cabinet Member for Highways PFI, Transport and Infrastructure

2 min read

I think I should say straight away that, contrary to reports in some local media that the IW Council has walked away from mediation over the Floating Bridge, it is not the case.

I know that people are concerned and interested in how we are trying to resolve the issues we face, as a result of the Floating Bridge not delivering the service levels we required when we ordered the vessel, but it is with serious intent and solid determination that we are continuing to negotiate with the builder and designer of our Floating Bridge. We are working through the mediation process, in the hope that we can get to a point where we can agree an acceptable level of costs back that relate to our losses and costs to date. It’s not a simple process; three parties are involved and two insurance companies are part of the process, all of which have to agree to any settlement figure to prevent matters going to the High Court.

Court processes are costly, very costly, and even if we believe we have a very strong case in this matter, it is by no means certain that a court will find in favour of the council or, indeed, agree to the level of claim we are making. I am reliably informed that the preparation of a court case together with a hearing in the High Court would easily cost £500,000 and could reach £1 million, with no guarantee of success, and it is with this in mind that we have to try to find a settlement outside of court if we are able.

We did not walk away from discussions during mediation, but we ran out of time on the day without coming to an agreement.

The gap between the parties is not unreachable for all concerned and we have returned to the mediator to exchange further information, asked for by the other parties, and to set out some financial parameters under which we could potentially all agree to settle the dispute without the need to go to court.

We are waiting to hear back from the mediator to see if there is potential for an agreement which we could all accept and move on from this difficult situation. Time will tell.

 

Next time : Council Leader Lora Peacey-Wilcox – March 25.