So it has happened, Condor is pulling out of Weymouth for the third time in its short history.
It was interesting to read that the MD just left the door ajar, in regard to Weymouth, for the long-term future of ferry services. Of course many locals would like to slam that door in Condor’s face but that would be unwise in business terms. The loss of Condor is a massive blow.
I would also blame successive local councils and their role in mis-managing the harbour assets over many decades.
Weymouth is the optimum route to the Channel Islands and the Cherbourg peninsular, yet councils have been unwilling or unable to attract ferry activities to the harbour, not to mention keep them, over a very long period.
I read with interest in the Echo that there is a ‘grand master plan’ for the town development including the harbour area, BUT it failed to mention that there is no money to carry out any scheme.
Perhaps the time has come to put the harbour into private hands, after all both Poole and Portland Port appear to be doing quite well from it.
It is a telling indictment against successive councils that we have landed in this sad situation.
We, the taxpayer now have to pay off the £4m spent on the harbour last year, which was essential to keep any ferry running, then find another £10m if we have any hope, however slim, of Condor returning, and yet councillors are trying to explain the Condor departure by saying they are optimistic that something will turn up and it will be an opportunity to develop for the future.
We live in a competitive world, and the present council set-up appears out of its depth when it comes to managing the town’s assets.
Weymouth is a lovely place to live, with a stunning beach and harbour, but it has to be managed if it is to survive let alone thrive in the future.
Was it ever put to Condor that they could raise the money for the new berth and then have free or greatly reduced harbour fees until they had been paid back their investment with interest?
I estimate that over recent decades, with the transfer of almost every MOD facility, plus many other agencies and companies, the jobs lost to the Weymouth and Portland area is in access of 5,000.
Now it is true that not all these moves could be put down to the local council, many were central government inspired, but successive local councils have presided over this catastrophic situation and they simply have to do better for the sake of the future of Weymouth and Portland.
DAVID PEACH, Coronation Road, Weymouth