Ferry given three year lifeline
VISITORS will be able to enjoy the attractions of both Felixstowe and Harwich from next week when the ferry which links them sets sail for the season.Essex and Suffolk County Councils have agreed a £60,000 funding package to keep the service afloat across the mile-wide harbour for the next three years and new owner Alan Sage is looking forward to the challenge.
VISITORS will be able to enjoy the attractions of both Felixstowe and Harwich from next week when the ferry which links them sets sail for the season.
Essex and Suffolk County Councils have agreed a £60,000 funding package to keep the service afloat across the mile-wide harbour for the next three years and new owner Alan Sage is looking forward to the challenge.
The foot ferry links Felixstowe with Shotley and Harwich - journeys of around ten to 15 minutes between each - and will run for five months, as well as being used for harbour tours.
Last year the number of passengers increased by 20 per cent, and there are high hopes for this season and the future, especially if new port developments get the go-ahead, which could open the way for a commuter service for workers.
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Mr Sage said: "It's the support of Essex County Council and Suffolk County Council which is keeping the ferry going. They have kept it afloat.
"I am looking forward to providing the ferry service linking Harwich with Felixstowe and Shotley. Passenger numbers have grown and the service is proving popular with leisure and business people."
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Over the winter months Mr Sage, 54, has refurbished the 11-metre beach landing craft, which can set up to 12 passengers inside or on deck.
New pontoons are being built at Shotley, with £150,000 of funding from the East of England Development Agency, through the Haven Gateway Partnership and Harwich Haven Authority to replace rickety old landing piers.
It will land at Felixstowe on the beach at Landguard, in front of the fort and near to the port viewing area. It is hoped that a purpose-built berth will be provided when the southern part of the container terminal is redeveloped.
The service is re-launched on Good Friday April 9, and will run a special service throughout the four-day Easter Holiday.
It will then operate on Saturdays and Sundays only between Easter and May 1, after which there will be a seven-day-a-week service from until September 12.
Julian Swainson, member of Suffolk County Council's executive committee, said: "The ferry service provides a vital link between Felixstowe, Shotley and Harwich and is a real alternative to long journeys by road for both tourists and regular commuters."
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