‘Embarrassing’ Floating Bridge noise ‘damaging tourism’

Residents living close to the Floating Bridge slipways claim the bridge’s noises could be “damaging tourism” and have even forced one family to flee their home.

Noel Turner-Brooks has lived in Seymour Court, East Cowes for seven years, he has seen and heard both Floating Bridge 5 & 6 in service at the rear of his property.

The 49-year-old described the latest model as a “nightmare” and compared the sounds it makes to London’s tube trains.

The recruitment professional is one of two permanent to residents to live in the nine white cottages on Castle Street next to the bridge’s loading ramp – the rest are holiday lets. A factor he says, could be causing the Island’s tourism industry serious damage.

“The council don’t realise,” said Mr Turner-Brooks. “These people are on holiday for a week – and they’re not coming back. They’ve said that.

Noel Turner-Brooks in his backyard

“We’ve had this bloody barge revving black smoke up outside our properties, with people sitting out on the balconies enjoying a £500 holiday week. It’s not funny and it doesn’t look good. Especially on Cowes Week. I think it’s damaging tourism here.”

Environmental Health

Jeremy Pocock, lives on the other side of the Medina to Mr Turner-Brooks, also very close to a slipway in Medina Road.

The 51-year-old said he’s had to move his young family to the mainland temporarily as they cannot sleep due to the Floating Bridge noise.

The software developer says he has escalated the problem to the Environment Health Department.

According to Mr Pocock, the department have told him they would put a stop to the service if it was run by a private company due to the noise levels – but are powerless to stop the council.

The Floating Bridge and Seaclear, a CHC workboat – Photo by Julia Richards

Mr Pocock said: “The reality is we’ve owned the property for 16 years and it was never like this before. But the much bigger story is that the Environmental Health Department is unable to do its job. It should really be an independent body that can have authority over the council as much as it does over private individuals and businesses.

“They are not doing anything about it and are denying us the opportunity to get some kind of dialogue going even though we have had the environmental health officer out.”

Council ‘must be joking’

On Monday (August 20), Isle of Wight Council (IWC) were asked about the noise the bridge makes after it was caught on video and sent to IW Observer.

IWC apologised, they said the noise was a “current” issue caused by a temporary solution to increase the chain clearance. IWC said it would be rectified when Wight Shipyard “addressed this issue at the earliest opportunity”.

“I know the council have said it’s only just been making the noise but – they must be joking,” said Mr Turner-Brooks. “Since they’ve had Floating Bridge 6 it has been a nightmare.”

Mr Turner-Brooks explained he used to hear the previous model’s chains clunking along occasionally, “but it was very rare – and it was fine”.

“Since the new bridge, the noise has been really terrible, it reminds of me when I wait for a tube train up in London,” said Mr Turner-Brooks. “Personally, I think it has been quite embarrassing. Some of the comments we hear from the kitchen window are amazing.”

Mr Turner-Brooks says the problem has been going on for so long he has even invited cabinet member for transport Councillor Ian Ward to come to his house and listen to the noise firsthand. But he’s has had no reply.

“I think they just need to tow the thing away and go and bloody sink it,” Mr Turner-Brooks continued. “Wait until they want their votes, I think a lot of Cowes and East Cowes residents won’t vote for them. And they need to also drag the people that were in power beforehand and line them up. They think they’ve all escaped.”

IWC have been contacted for comment.