Statement on the proposal to bring back a ferry service to Weymouth

Cllr Ray Bryan, our Portfolio Holder for Highways, Travel and Environment has made a statement in respect of the proposed ferry service returning to Weymouth.

“The business plan that Dorset Council received from Weymouth Town Council, in respect of a proposed ferry service returning to Weymouth, fell far short of the professional standard we would expect to see in such a proposal.

Weymouth Town councillors were given 12 months to conduct a feasibility study and submit a fully costed business plan. But the proposal submitted was weak, was not received in good time, nor did it address several key considerations. In addition, only very vague costings had been included, and no thought was given to the loss of Dorset Council’s current income streams from parking at the peninsula, or the Council’s obligations to its current Harbour clients. No thought had been given to the costs associated with a modern-day ferry service, such as border force security, dredging, pilotage and the impact of additional cars on the peninsula, which would undoubtedly affect local people and businesses.

The offer on the table from Weymouth Town Council was for a one day per week ferry service from Weymouth to the Channel Islands for 30 weeks of the year which, in our view, is not a workable proposal. To make it feasible, Dorset Council would have needed a commitment for the provision of a ferry service which operates all year round and offers a daily service to multiple destinations, not just the Channel Islands. In its present form, the business case put forward is a non-starter.

Dorset Council put its own plans and ambitions for the regeneration of this site on hold for more than a year so Weymouth Town Council could explore the ferry option. As it has disappointingly failed to produce anything of note, we will look into financially-sound regeneration opportunities for the peninsula area which we hope will bring benefits to residents, businesses and visitors to Weymouth and will breathe new life into this significant area of the town.”

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