COUNCILLORS are set to determine whether or not to go forward with a new ferry service at Weymouth Peninsula as part of its redevelopment.

Dorset Council has reached an agreement with Weymouth Town Council that its councillors will determine conclusively by the end of June 2022 whether a future ferry service from Weymouth harbour will be viable or not.

A number of Weymouth Town Councillors have been exploring options over recent months to attract a ferry service back to Weymouth harbour.

Cllr Tony Ferrari, Dorset Council’s Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth, Assets and Property, with special responsibility for regeneration and development in Weymouth, has agreed the deadline of 30 June 2022 for this work with town councillors in order to inform the Harbours Strategy and the wider development plans for the Peninsula.

Dorset Council have said that if a ferry service were to return to Weymouth harbour, it would significantly influence the future development of the Peninsula.

READ MORE: Ferries from Weymouth and Portland to Channel Islands supported by councillors

It recently emerged that discussions between Weymouth councillors and representatives in Guernsey have been progressing - and in a full Weymouth Town Council meeting in March Cllr Jan Bergman said there was "great appetite" for the plans among officials in Guernsey.

Should it be found that it is not viable to attract a ferry service back to Weymouth harbour, alternative uses for that area will be considered to ensure that the site supports the harbour and contributes to the economic regeneration of the town.

Weymouth Town Councillors leading the ferry service exploration work have been asked to provide quarterly updates on progress over the course of the next year.

Meanwhile, over the coming year, Dorset Council officers are preparing for future development of the Peninsula, including ground condition work. A bid for funding for the Peninsula was also included in the Levelling Up submission for funding from Government, submitted last week, to help regenerate the area.

Cllr Tony Ferrari said: “The Peninsula is one of the most important locations in Weymouth and we should deliver something truly ambitious and transformative on the site. We need to work closely together to achieve the maximum potential either with or without a ferry service.

“We’ve had recent conversations with the Pavilion, and I am keen to see the ongoing provision of arts and music on the Peninsula. Later this year, we intend to engage local residents, businesses and developers and have a public conversation about people’s aspirations for the site.”

Condor Ferries, which previously provided a link to the Channel Islands and France from Weymouth quayside, switched its services to Poole in 2015 after the Weymouth port was deemed unsuitable for its larger ferry, and required £10 million worth of investment to make it viable.

The former borough council had spent £4 million refurbishing a berth, but Condor required a larger berth which needed a major upgrade.

With Condor’s departure the council lost £750,000 a year in harbour income and the local economy suffered a major blow as passengers headed to Poole.

Buildings associated with the former terminal have been demolished.

Initial investigations by town councillor Jan Bergman sparked interest from ferry companies and he has said they have indicated that they want to engage in discussions about a future service.

Cllr Bergman has previously said the benefits of re-establishing a ferry service would include:

* Increased employment opportunities

* Providing potential engineering apprenticeships for younger people

* Increased trade for Weymouth’s shops, hotels, etc

* Leisure and travel opportunities for local residents

* The creation of investment potential in Weymouth


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