We write regarding the misleading comments made by Dorset Council regarding the possible return of ferry services from Weymouth.

The purpose of this letter is to set the record straight. The signatories of this letter have been liaising with the States of Guernsey and, over the past six months, a major ferry company, to look at whether the return of a ferry service is possible. Over the past few months, representatives from Dorset Council have also been working with us.

Dorset Council requested a business case and the ferry company, after their engineer carried out an inspection, indeed did this, though it is appreciated by all that it did not provide all information necessary for a fully costed case.

However, the main point being that 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.

To have a fully costed case requires input by all, particularly as Dorset Council, which runs the harbour, has all the necessary information.

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.

The Echo ran a survey in which 90% of respondents wanted the return of a ferry service, as well as there being a unanimous vote at Weymouth Town Council. We live in a democracy - Weymouth residents deserve better.

Dorset Council mentions that the ferry proposal has held up other developments – that is ridiculous.

What Weymouth would gain from a ferry service

The benefits of a ferry service are many and include:

  • More employment opportunities for Weymouth. This particularly includes skilled employment opportunities; n Potential engineering apprenticeships for younger people in Weymouth;
  • Increased trade for Weymouth’s hotels, restaurants and bars;
  • Increased support for Weymouth’s shops;
  • Leisure and travel opportunities for local people. This may be increasingly needed due to potential difficulties travelling abroad;
  • Educational support and inspiration for Weymouth school children and college students. For example, Guernsey has an enormous history demonstrating the bravery of British citizens in World War II and cultural aspects including the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society made famous by the book and film of the same name. What an opportunity for Weymouth’s young people to have easy access to this wealth of history and culture;
  • The creation of investment opportunity in Weymouth, with increased prosperity potential; Weymouth should be the pride of South Dorset. A ferry service to the Channel Islands would be a major boost for the residents of Weymouth in all manner of ways including a feel-good factor and motivation to develop all aspects of the town.

Again, we are not saying it should be a fait accompli, but that a ferry service should be proactively, enthusiastically and properly considered by Dorset Council along with the ferry company.

We want Weymouth to be the pride of South Dorset.

It could, and should be, South Dorset’s flagship with a thriving and motivated community. We would like Dorset Council to support our ambitions.

Councillor Colin Huckle Mayor, Weymouth Town Council 2021/22 Councillor Mr Jan Bergman Weymouth Town Council Councillor Graham Winter Mayor, Weymouth Town Council 2020/21 Councillor Ann Weaving Current Mayor, Weymouth Town Council