The return of ferry services from Weymouth appears to have taken another step forward, with trial services potentially returning this autumn. A cross-Channel service was halted in 2015 when Condor Ferries moved services to Poole due to its £50million vessel being too big for Weymouth Port and multi-million port improvements needed.
A restarted ferry service has been rumored for several years, and a plan to determine whether a return of the cross-Channel service was viable was launched by Weymouth City Council in June 2021. Further speculation was generated when the CEO of Condor, John Napton, held a meeting with board officials last November.
Weymouth City Council has confirmed it is “liaising” with Dorset Council on a formal proposal, with little information released so far. It is, however, suggested in the proposals that a trial service could potentially start later this year in the fall. It is understood that full details of the revised ferry service will be released next week. Dorset Council has also been approached to comment on the plans.
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If ferry service is restored to Weymouth it will generate a big boost in the area as the loss of services has cost the seaside town economy £750,000 a year. Weymouth City Council is meeting on Wednesday June 1 to discuss plans to bring the ferry service back to the town, where a meeting stressed it would be a ‘major boost for Weymouth residents’ and create skilled jobs and apprenticeships, would increase commerce for hotels, restaurants, bars and shops, as well as “creating investment opportunities in Weymouth”.
The report also notes that there is overwhelming support that a new ferry service would create leisure and travel opportunities for locals, as well as school children who may visit Guernsey to learn more about its role in the Second World War, its culture and history.
The full council minutes say discussions have been held with Guernsey officials and a ‘large ferry company’ and that there will be ‘between one and two crossings per week during the summer months’. A statement from the minutes of the meeting read: “Over the past two years there have been discussions initially with the States of Guernsey and more recently a major ferry company.
“Weymouth City Council have been informed of the developments and have supported these discussions by potentially bringing a ferry service back to Weymouth. Further investigations have now been completed and this document is to serve as a formal proposal to Dorset Council. A business case, prepared by the ferry company, is being sent under separate, confidential cover to Weymouth Councillors.
“If ferry service were restored, it is likely that there would be between one and two crossings per week during the summer months.
The report says that sea trials will take place in the autumn of this year, the restored ferry service would be included as part of the redevelopment of the peninsula and the port.
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