Shanklin’s Cliff Lift is set to re-open this summer, after repair works were given the green light by the Isle of Wight Council.
A provisional date of Tuesday 21 July has been provided by the local authority for the facility to open. A temporary bridge for the lift has been commissioned by a bridge construction firm, and an engineering company is designing the necessary supports for the footway. Shanklin Town Council has also been involved, helping to remove trees at the base of the cliff, so a crane can be put in place to remove the old footway and install the temporary one. Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Isle of Wight Council leader, said:
“When I met with businesses in Shanklin I gave a commitment that the council would look to make temporary repairs to the lift this year and to effect permanent repairs in the future. The current progress with works on the cliff lift are a demonstration of that commitment. “There may still be issues that we uncover as we progress works to install the temporary bridge so I am cautious but optimistic about achieving the reopening on the identified date.” “However, we have a planned opening date to aim for and we are very hopeful we can meet it.”
Cllr Jon Gilbey said
“We understand from local hotels and businesses that potential visitors have already cancelled bookings because of the non-availability of the Lift, and we are working to ensure the Timetable is adhered to and the Lift is re-opened on Schedule.”
Cllrs Ray Bloomfield and Richard Priest said:
“The lack of communication from the Council has been frustrating, but the information we have now received is positive and we will continue monitor progress for this Summer and for the longer term.”
Local Councillors have also started planning to promote the re-opening with Shanklin Hotel and Accommodation Association. President of the Association Chris Quirk said:
“Whilst there are lessons to be learnt from what has happened, we want to highlight the Lift will be open for business and will be inviting the Lord Lieutenant and other guests to the re-opening, in line with when the Queen visited 50 years ago.”
The council remains committed to a permanent replacement bridge and in May, members of the council’s Executive approved proposals to spend over £700,000 on long-term repairs at the lift, including installing a permanent footbridge and replacing the lift’s plant machinery.