Published: June 8, 2012
New Burnham to Wales passenger ferry service given council boost

Plans to launch a new commercial passenger ferry service between Burnham-On-Sea and Wales have moved a step closer this week after the Town Council gave its financial backing to the project.

At a meeting on Wednesday (June 6th), councillors voted in favour of earmarking £2,500 towards the venture, which they hope will boost local tourism and bring new visitors to the town.

Earlier, Cllr Neville Jones told the Town Council's Policy and Finance Committee: "This is a great opportunity to bring the ferry to Burnham and put us on the map. It is a marvellous opportunity that will potentially provide lots of financial benefit."

As first reported by here, businessman Chris Marrow wants to begin trials of the new ferry between Burnham and Cardiff later this year. He says: "Ferry services to Wales provide the potential to provide a significant boost to the economy of Burnham-On-Sea, Brean and Sedgemoor."

But the benefits of the service were questioned by several councillors. Cllr Chris Williams said: "£2,500 is a relatively small sum, but I am not convinced that the ferry will bring much advantage to Burnham. Shoppers may well go to Cardiff but I fear few will come from Wales to shop here. That said, I would not want to step in the way of this moving forward."

Cllr Phil Harvey also questioned how the funding would be used and added that it was unclear whether it would used on a feasibility study or actual ferry runs. Cllr Jones assured him that the money would be given towards the cost of holding the trials.

Councillors voted in favour of giving the funds to the service on the understanding that funding would also be given by Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset Tourism Association.

Councillors debated whether they should be helping a commercial business, but it was confirmed that under the 1972 Local Government Act they can contribute to organisations encouraging tourism.


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