Wow! Not a good track record and, perhaps, proof of the old adage "If it ain't broke don't fix it." In my years as an IoW resident the old floating bridge just trundled back and forth without breaking down or running aground.
But to expand this thread a bit although I know I shouldn't but I can't resist it given Pompeyfan's location and, hopefully, to stir some memories:
When I became married we moved to London where I was deputy chief engineer in a power station, but then we moved again to Sussex where in East Sussex County Council I was tasked with developing an energy from waste plant to produce biofuels from waste. Having built such a plant in Eastbourne we were approached by the IoW county council as it then was to look at their waste disposal problem, which was that they were simply running out of ground to bury their wastes. They had worked out that they would soon have to start shipping the wastes to the mainland at a cost that would cripple their budget.
I spent a week or two on the island talking to the people that I had known for years; people in local industries who used coal and oil in their processes, and I suggested to the IoW CC that we could build a plant like ours to create fuels for their industries, so that they would limit their need for landfill and could actually sell the products. At the time the county waste disposal officer was John Hammond, who doubled as a coastguard and became a valued colleague.
We built the plant in Forrest Row outside Newport, and it got round the problem of shipping wastes off the island. Meanwhile I had moved on to join a new company to design and build such a plant in Birmingham, and we were selling the products all over the Midlands. We even started to ship loads of the fuels from the island to make up for shortfalls in our supply.
Then the IoW CC wondered if they could use the fuels in their own plant to generate electricity and not be dependent upon mainland markets for them. An old friend and colleague of mine took a contract to install a power plant at Forrest Row with, I vaguely recall, a power output of 3MW which was a major part of the total power consumption of the Island at the time. Win win then! The last time I looked, which was some years ago now, our plant had been operating through various owners for thirty-five years.
So questions for Pompeyfan: Is that old plant still there? Do you know John Hammond?