A SOUTHAMPTON MP has called for the redevelopment of a city park following regular traffic chaos caused by ferry delays.

Royston Smith, MP for Southampton Itchen, is calling on the re-development of Mayflower Park and the relocation of the Red Funnel terminal after a weekend of long delays and traffic jams.

As previously reported over the weekend, problems involving Red Funnel ferries caused long delays around Town Quay and Ocean Village as well as parts of the main shopping area.

Motorists were urged to avoid the area as queues of vehicles waiting to use the Red Funnel services caused congestion on the roads.

Shipping congestion in the Channel began to have a knock-on effect in the Southampton area, delaying the docking of a Red Funnel ferry.

Employees also had to contend with a medical emergency involving an elderly passenger who suffered a fall.

Following a weekend of traffic chaos, Royston Smith is calling on a relocation of the Red Funnel terminal to "solve these issues going forward.

He told the Daily Echo: "I was aware of the traffic problem in town on Saturday because I was caught in it myself. I couldn’t help thinking how much worse it would have been if the roads in and out of the city had not been re-opened properly.

"A comprehensive re-development of Mayflower Park including relocating Red Funnel to Town Quay or the docks would solve these issues going forward."

Mr Smith said it is "the city's ambition to redevelop Mayflower Park".

"Perhaps an arena, hotel, permanent births for the Boat Show and the Spitfire Monument," he said.

"If and when the development happens Red Funnel - and the traffic issues - would be taken care of. It’s a long term solution sadly and not a short term one."

Fran Collins, Chief Executive of Red Funnel, said: “We have unfortunately experienced several disruptions to our service recently which has caused traffic congestion in and around Town Quay. Firstly, we apologise for the disruption this has caused to passengers and those using the roads in Southampton.

"It is fantastic to see a boom in staycations this year, supporting the Island economy, however this increased travel to the Isle of Wight has resulted in our service becoming busier than normal.

"During these busy periods, unexpected delays caused by congestion on the water, shoreside roadworks or a medical emergency, can further exasperate the situation and increase delays. To respond to this, we are taking a number of actions.

“To ensure we have the best possible team in place to support our passengers during busy periods, we are increasing our seasonal recruitment, taking on more seasonal team members than we did in 2019.

“To make best use of the available space we have to load and unload vehicles, we have worked with students at Solent University on a project to analyse the ergonomics of the space. This has enabled us to fit the maximum number of vehicles at any one time, unloading and loading ferries simultaneously.

“To ensure we clear traffic as quickly as possible, we adjust our bookings and timetables during very busy periods. This involves a first come, first served approach; loading traffic from the front to the back and dispatching ferries as soon as they reach capacity.

“Red Funnel does not have jurisdiction to manage traffic outside of the terminal. We are working very closely with Southampton City Council and will be meeting with the emergency planning team to adapt our plans to help minimise further disruption in the future.”