Thursday, 27 November 2014

Isle of Wight Better Ferry Campaign

Although we have been and will continue to be impartial in our reporting of the ongoing Fixed Link debate, Isle of Wight Review broadly takes the view that a physical link to the mainland should be avoided if at all possible on the grounds that it will threaten the unique character of the Island.

Notwithstanding this fact, we recognise that one of the biggest drivers behind the campaign for a Fixed Link has been the outrageous prices charged by the operators of the ferry services across the Solent. By way of a personal example the author of this article had to "shop around" in May to find a best price of £146 for a return journey involving an ordinary car and two occupants. Please bear in mind that wasn't even peak season!

We are therefore proud to draw readers' attention to a website published by the Isle of Wight Better Ferry Campaign, which is working actively for an improved and fairer services from the Island's two big operators and has produced downloadable posters and flyers with that purpose in mind.

We are sure that many of you will be only too happy to lend this campaign your support.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

The Great Fixed Link Debate - Where Do You Stand?

The Isle of Wight is currently engaged in one of its most potentially explosive debates for many years over the prospect of a Fixed Link connecting it to the mainland.

The trigger seems to have been the launch by two residents of an online petition, to be followed shortly by a formal survey, calling for a bridge across the Solent or a tunnel. Carl Feeney and Kevin Price are hoping the momentum created by the petition will lead to a referendum on the issue to replace "old fashioned ferries", and claim that £6 million of government funding would be available to support the initiative. The pair also claim to have the support of local MP Andrew Turner for a referendum, although this would appear to be disputed.

Opinion seemed to be divided when Isle of Wight Review sought out the views of local people. Maria Scovell said: "No, we shouldn't have a Fixed Link...makes it easier for thieves etc to come over here and get away".

Karen Webster countered: "The Link would open up so many opportunities for people and would improve the amount of people visiting the Island. I know I would be over visiting family and friends more if there was a Link, I can't afford to at the moment with Wightlink's and Hovertravel's prices".

Bev Allen told us: "If the ferry services weren't so greedy by exploiting the public by changing the costs to suit the seasons and gave a fairer priced service this debate wouldn't be needed, their greed will be their downfall".

Rosemary Grimaldi is completely opposed to the prospect of a Fixed Link. "No way, we have enough traffic now," she insisted. "The Island would lose its charm, it must not be joined to the mainland. If people don't like the boat journey they should live on the mainland".


Former resident Ann Hulme seemed to see both sides of the argument, telling us "I had to leave the Island to get my first proper job, not much choice even years ago. I feel the ferries were much better then but were expensive, nothing changed there! Plus everyone has friends and relatives on the North Island, it's hard to visit each other because of time and expense. I never wanted a bridge, I feel it would destroy the uniqueness of the island and make it too easy for the wrong kind of visitors, but maybe I am wrong? These same difficulties prevent me from returning again, it's a hard choice".

Rebecca Keenan is all in favour. She remarked: "Definitely need a bridge.. future generations are screwed. Worst schools in the South, no prospects, poor economy - something needs to be done!", sentiments which were echoed by Steven Staff: "I think the Island would benefit from a Fixed Link. I imagine it would be like the Wales bridge with a toll and security which would be great. The Welsh bridge is £6.20...I'd be on and off the Island constantly then. I think this would be a great decision for the Island to make and would boost a lot of things. It would also put Wightlink and Red Funnel out of business again due to their greed. Yes to a Fixed Link".

Louise was another who felt the prices charged by the ferries was prohibitive: "Cost me £98 to get to my dad in hospital - it was an emergency. We were told they would get us on come what may, there were eleven cars and a handful of trucks, exploitation I'd say. It's cheaper to get a day return from the mainland".

Kerry Constable is concerned about the security risks. "It would be a lot easier for the prisoners to escape," she told us.

Rival petitions for and against the suggestion each run into thousands of signatures. One of the most frequently recurring grumbles is clearly the cost of the Island's ferry and hovercraft services. The Solent is said to be mile for mile the most expensive water crossing in the world. Some opponents of the idea are nevertheless hopeful that the re-emergence of the debate will force some kind of positive action over fares.

The debate looks set to run and run. What are your views? Post your comments on here and let us know.

Sunday, 16 November 2014

Christmas and New Year breaks from just £459 for the whole family

Island View Holidays are offering relaxing Christmas holidays in their exquisite home-from-home style cottages at Rookley Country Park on the Isle of Wight.

Choose from a short break holiday (22nd to 26th December) from just £459 for a whole family, or a full week (20th to 27th December) from £499. A family can include up to eight people.

Christmas packages include accommodation, complementary mince pies and mulled wine, three course Christmas lunch (for up to 4 people, £25 per extra person), and "all you can eat" Boxing Day breakfast (for up to 4 people, £5 per extra person).

New Year packages are also available and include a complimentary bottle of bubbly and tickets for the New Year's Eve Party.

For more information 'phone 01983 898916, or e-mail

Reproduced with acknowledgements to The Holiday Zone.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Friends of Quarr

Quarr Abbey is a registered charity, and like many charities, it is indebted to the generosity of the numerous individuals and organisations that regularly contribute to it. We thank everyone who has donated in the past for their kindness

We are always looking for ways in which we can develop and improve Quarr without disturbing its quiet ambience. And, as a visitor or guest of Quarr, you may be interested to know of the various initiatives that are currently under way, and planned for the near future.

Our tea garden has recently been improved, and we encourage you to wander around and enjoy tea and cake in its peaceful solitude. With support from local organisations, we are hoping to re-introduce chickens to the gardens soon, and we are also considering ways to increase our stock of honey producing bees.

Our historic buildings are constantly in need of maintenance, and this year we will be performing significant work on the bell tower and other higher points of the church buildings. To further increase the comfort of our guests, the guesthouse will also be going through some refurbishment, and our bookshop continues to grow.

All of these initiatives require time, money and the dedication of a volunteer workforce.

If you are interested in making a donation to Quarr Abbey, please write to or send your donation to Procurator, Quarr Abbey, Ryde, Isle of Wight, PO33 4ES. Cheques should be made payable to “Quarr Abbey.” You can also donate online here.