A GROUP of senior councillors has accused Dorset Council of not supporting Weymouth's ambition to see a ferry service restored, 'holding back' on discussions and 'sweeping the idea 'under the carpet'.

They claim the authority was never really behind the idea of a new cross-Channel service from the town and have criticised 'misleading comments' from the council made in respect of a potential new link which had been investigated and involved discussions with the States of Guernsey and a 'major ferry company'.

The town councillors hit back after Dorset Council effectively said the ferry idea was a non-starter, criticising the proposal put forward as 'weak' with 'vague costings'.

But the group of town councillors say a ferry service needs to be properly considered and not 'swept under the carpet' by Dorset Council.

Many have supported the return of ferry services to Weymouth after the departure of Condor Ferries, and hopes were fuelled when it was revealed the boss of Condor held a meeting with council officials last November.

Weymouth Town Council was invited to come up with a plan for Dorset Council to consider.

In a letter to the Echo, town councillors including the current mayor and two former mayors, claim Dorset Council failed to provide the necessary level of support for the business case.

They said: “Dorset Council officers were supposed to be supporting the business case in providing some direction and information, particularly in respect of landside and harbour requirements, but this never transpired.

"In fact, all along these discussions were either held up or not supported and it is quite evident that Dorset Council officers were not at all supportive of the idea of bringing back a ferry service to Weymouth.

"We are not saying that we definitely must have a ferry service but that it needs to be properly considered along with other potential developments, and not swept under the carpet. We live in a democracy - Weymouth residents deserve better. Dorset Council mentions that the ferry proposal has held up other developments – that is ridiculous.”

It comes after plans were seen by town councillors with a view to reinstating the ferry service potentially as early as the autumn. Minutes from a Weymouth Town Council meeting on June 1 showed a proposal had been formally submitted with a private ferry company on board.

Despite that optimism, Dorset Council said the proposals - which involved only one crossing per week to Guernsey for 30 weeks of the year - didn’t answer “key fundamentals”.

A spokesperson told the Echo the option of a ferry service returning to Weymouth is now a 'closed door'.

The town councillors maintain that the issue should continue to be explored fully and that a ferry link would provide a while host of economic benefits.