Freedom of Information Requests Placed in Response to Public Inquiry Under Floating Bridge Settlement

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<p><figcaption class=Freedom of Information Requests Placed in Response to Public Inquiry Under Floating Bridge Settlement (Picture: NewsQuest)

FREEDOM of Information Act applications have been filed following the Isle of Wight Council’s refusal to release details of its Floating Bridge 6 settlement to islanders.

Questions were posed to the board, including how much the board won, whether the board signed a nondisclosure agreement on the settlement (and if so, why?); and how much counsel paid in legal fees during the action.

The board declined to respond referring to their original view that no further statements would be made.

A freedom of information request has now been submitted by the Isle of Wight Local Democracy reporter, as well as several island residents, asking the same questions.

The request could take up to 20 business days to respond.

Late last week it was announced that the legal mediation process between the designers and builders of the struggling £3.2million chain ferry – Burness Corlett Three Quays and Mainstay Marine Solutions – and the Isle of Wight Council was over.

It would have started in March this year, but the legal action was first mentioned by the previous Conservative administration almost two years ago.

Although the settlement was well received, the Isle of Wight Council refused to disclose its amount.

The authority says it was agreed between the parties that the terms of the settlement were to be kept confidential and that neither party would make any further statement regarding the terms of the settlement agreement.

Cllr Karl Love of East Cowes said he disagreed confidentiality was needed and that after years of unrest in the town they had a right to know the details.

Cllr Joe Robertson, Conservative leader at County Hall, called the secrecy “completely unacceptable”.

East Cowes Councilor Cllr Cameron Palin said locals were being kept in the dark and this led him to question the Alliance administration’s post-election promises to be open and transparent, making them seem rather closed and misleading.

Members of the public are also wondering how the settlement can be kept secret when it was taxpayers’ money that funded the troubled ship.

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