Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Isle of Wight road contract agreed for 25 years

The Isle of Wight Council has agreed to sign a contract with its preferred bidder to carry out road maintenance on the island for the next 25 years.

Vinci Concessions will receive a Department for Transport grant of £260m over the period.

The council will top this up with £7.3m per year, which it says is £1m less than it currently spends.

But independent councillor Patrick Joyce said contracting out the work was the wrong way to fix the roads.

The council says that the Public Private Finance Initative (PFI) with Vinci Concessions is needed to address years of under-investment in the island's road network.

'Worst in country'

In a committee report it stated: "This can only be successfully achieved through the significant investment provided by the Project.

"This need was also highlighted in a recent survey by the GMB public services union which suggested that the island's roads were the worst in the country."

Mr Joyce, who was one of three independent councillors who voted against the plan, said he appreciated the roads needed to be repaired but in the long term PFI would cost taxpayers significantly more money.

He added: "It will cost them a fortune. Why the Isle of Wight Council feel they are smarter than anyone else who has dealt with these big PFI companies is a mystery."

In total the Conservative-led council won the vote by 29 to three, with one abstention.

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