Published: May 3, 2012
New plans for Burnham to Wales passenger ferry service unveiled

Brand new plans to launch a cross-channel passenger ferry service between Burnham-On-Sea and Wales have been unveiled this week, with the promise of delivering a "significant economic boost."

Businessman Chris Marrow has announced proposals to begin trials of a new service between Burnham and Cardiff later this year.

In his plans, Mr Marrow says: "Ferry services to Wales provide the potential to provide a significant boost to the economy of Burnham-On-Sea, Brean and Sedgemoor."

A new community interest company, called South and West Coastal Projects, is being formed to run the commercial operation and oversee the trials.

Mr Marrow added: "Burnham and the surrounding areas suffer from many of the issues affecting coastal communities and are undoubtedly in need of an economic boost. It is well documented that ferry services linking communities help drive economic growth."

"A direct strategic link to South Wales - 16.5 miles by sea but over 60 by car - will open direct access to a market of over 1.5million in the South Wales corridor."

In order to launch the service, he is seeking funding from Burnham and Highbridge Town Council, Sedgemoor District Council and firms in the private sector.

Speaking at a town council meeting on Wednesday, Cllr Neville Jones (pictured with Mr Marrow) told "He is keen to start the trials this year and is asking the council to consider providing some funding."

"He is seeking to raise £25,000, but is not seeking the whole amount from the Town Council. If the trials are successful, the ferry service would start a commercial operation in 2013. I am fully behind the plans, which would deliver a financial boost for Burnham, bringing extra shoppers, commuters and holidaymakers to the town."

Mr Marrow originally unveiled plans for a ferry operation called Severn Link four years ago, which we featured here, although the scheme never got off the ground due to funding issues.

Mr Marrow says the brand new proposals will involve the creation of a "community-led project operated on a highly commercial and sustainable basis, but in a not-for-profit business."

"The project would not just provide a regular scheduled service, but also the sale of packaged trips - for example, these might include a trip from the heart of Cardiff city centre to Cheddar Caves at an inclusive price."

"It has the support of a significant number of local business people who recognise the economic, environmental and cultural benefits that will accrue."

The Town Council's Policy and Finance Committee is to consider the plans in more detail later this Spring.

Pictured: Cllr Neville Jones with businessman Chris Marrow, who is planning the launch of a passenger ferry between Burnham and Wales


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