When I was privileged to be elected as a Weymouth town councillor last year, it was my first foray into politics and there were three things I wanted to achieve for the people of Weymouth.

This letter concerns one of those three, which is to try to re-establish a ferry service to the Channel Islands, at least a passenger service. The benefits to Weymouth would be numerous and I list some of these below.

I have since been investigating whether this is feasible.

It is.

I have been asked to share my investigations, though preliminary at this stage, with Weymouth residents and have tabled a report for discussion at the next meeting of Weymouth Town Council (this evening).

In summary I have received written replies from both the Chief Executive of Brittany Ferries and the Chief Executive of Red Funnel Ferries. Both are positive in wanting to engage into discussions on a future service.

Some may recall Condor provided a service some years ago and for whatever reason the service was discontinued. Condor has since been taken over by a consortia which includes Brittany Ferries.

Even more importantly I have had discussions followed up in writing, with a Transport Adviser to the States of Guernsey. The States of Guernsey may be interested in commencing a service for a number of reasons which could also connect Alderney and possibly other islands including the Isle of Wight.

It is important to note that a passenger ferry service should not require any subsidy from the council and should not adversely affect cycling and pedestrian improvements on the harbourside.

Some of the benefits I see to Weymouth include the following:

* Increased employment opportunities for Weymouth residents and in particular skilled job opportunities

* Providing potential engineering apprenticeships for younger people in Weymouth

* Increased trade for Weymouth’s shops, the precinct, hotels, bars, restaurants and cafes

* Leisure and travel opportunities for local residents; possibly increasingly relevant with difficulty in travel abroad

* Easy access to the Channel Isles would be advantageous for education. For example Guernsey has enormous history demonstrating the bravery of British citizens in World War 2 and associated cultural history ,for example the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society. What an opportunity for Weymouth school and college students to have easy access to this wealth of history and culture

* The creation of investment potential in Weymouth. Post Covid 19 could see opportunities arising and improved sea links could well offer advantages to Weymouth

I have prepared a report, also supported by Councillor Colin Huckle, which will be discussed at the meeting of Weymouth Town Council (tonight).

It proposes formalising and taking discussions forward with ferry companies and the States of Guernsey in order to establish options.

Again this will be on the basis that a service will not be subsidised by Weymouth.

I hope it will be supported by my councillor colleagues so we can provide the people of Weymouth with the benefits, some of which are described above.

Councillor Jan Edward Bergman

Weymouth Town Council