PLANS for a new Red Funnel ferry terminal in Southampton will be brought forward after a controversial scheme for a sister one at East Cowes was given the go-ahead.

Following the three-day appeal against the Isle of Wight Council’s refusal of permission, a planning inspector decided Red Funnel should be allowed to bulldoze its existing terminal and nearby industrial and commercial buildings and properties in Dover Road, East Cowes.

The decision means that together with a new terminal building and marshalling yard, Red Funnel would be allowed to build up to 100 homes, retail, leisure and commercial premises and a 60-bed hotel, subject to wide-ranging conditions insisted upon by the planning inspector.

Following the refusal of its original master plan, Red Funnel came up with a scaled down alternative earlier this year.

As a result, Red Funnel has permission for half its alternative scaled-down plan but half was refused by the Isle of Wight Council, which was concerned at the loss of industrial buildings.

The smaller scheme does not involve demolishing homes and businesses – including the White Hart pub – in Dover Road.

A Red Funnel spokesman said: “We now have the approval we need to build a 21st-century ferry terminal which will facilitate growth in the island’s economy for decades to come as well as resolving the traffic congestion in East Cowes.”

The scheme is now expected to bring forward Red Funnel’s plans to build a new terminal at Trafalgar Dry Dock at Southampton Port.

Red Funnel’s new Southampton terminal, approved last year, will cost £33.5m and would include new berths along with a 357-space four-deck multi storey car park.

Passengers arriving by car will be met by more, larger check-in booths and longer, covered lanes for waiting traffic, more parking spaces for HGVs, a cycle parking area, a taxi rank and a vehicle drop-off area.

Councillor Simon Letts, leader of Southampton City Council, said: “The planning inspectorate has done a favour to the Southampton economy as this will be a catalyst to bringing forward the Southampton terminal.”

Jon Walton, CEO of GO! Southampton, the Southampton Business Improvement District said: “We welcome the potential for new jobs in Southampton.

“Any investment in Red Funnel facilities will have a positive impact for all parties.”