March 11 2014 Latest news:
BY RICHARD CORNWELL
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
INVESTIGATIONS are taking place to see whether funding can be found to provide a larger foot ferry to run between Felixstowe, Harwich and Shotley to boost tourism to the three areas.
The current ferry – the vessel MV Explorer 12 – can only carry 12 passengers and in good weather in the summer can often find more people waiting for its services than it can cope with.
Now a group is looking to see whether a bigger vessel would be a success on the route, which currently operates from Easter to September each year.
As part of the next phase of its development, the Port of Felixstowe is to provide a new £250,000 permanent berth for the ferry close to the end of the Landguard Terminal.
The work though is not expected to take place for some years.
Felixstowe Town Council has agreed to give £1,000 to the new foot ferry project after considering a letter from Felixstowe Futures about the scheme being put together by a task and finish group from Essex County Council.
It is understood the group is looking at the possibility of lottery funding as well as seeking grants from district, town and parish councils whose communities benefit from the passenger service, both in terms of it being an essential public transport link but also from the extra tourism it brings across the River Orwell.
Alan Sage, who runs the ferry between Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe, said he was confident it would be restarting in April.
“It is a battle every year to put together the finance, but it is a very popular service – especially when the weather is good” he said.
“When it’s a bit rough the passengers are generally those who really have to make the trip for one reason or another, but when the weather is good there are often more people waiting on the beach than we can carry under our licence.”