BOROUGH Mayor Margaret Leicester, who will propose to the Management Committee that all revenue gained from the harbour is ring-fenced and spent on the harbour, says she is not surprised the repair bill has shot up – and wouldn’t be surprised if it rises further.

She added: “It’s a big job and I don’t even think they have done a full assessment, there’s more work to do than they think.”

Colin Green, who runs Weymouth Sands guesthouse near the ferry terminal, said Condor’s absence had ‘hit the business hard’ especially in the quieter parts of the year.

He added: “I have very little faith the repair work will be done in time and the ferry will be back in March. The council allowed the quay to get into the state it has and I’m not sure they have the capability to sort it out.”

Martin James of Kelston guesthouse in Lennox Street reckons he has lost ‘at least £2-3,000’ this year as a result of Condor not being here.

He said: “It’s not just us, it’s the shops, restaurants, taxi firms; it has a knock-on effect.

“We all want Condor back but the longer it goes on the less chance we think it will happen.”

Coun John Birtwistle said: “We’ve raked in money from the harbour for years and allowed it to fall into the water. If £4million is what it takes to turn Weymouth into a premier ferry port then that’s what it takes.

“Condor wants to come back and we want them back.”