Proposals to launch a commercial passenger ferry service between Burnham-On-Sea and Wales have been halted, the businessman behind the ambitious plans has said this week.
The Severn Link service had intended to operate ferries between Burnham, Cardiff and other Bristol Channel destinations, but the scheme has hit the rocks.
The entrepreneur behind the plans, Chris Marrow, told Burnham-On-Sea.com this week: “The project has been ‘put on ice’. We’d hoped to complete our ferry trials and viability study by now, but things have not gone to plan.”
“We had two ships along with crews being trained ready to go into service but the Welsh government pulled the plug on our landing facilities and several of our key shareholders have pulled out.”
He added: “I would still love to see a commercial ferry service operating around the Bristol Channel. It’s a busy waterway with big populations all around it, so the potential is still there and it would deliver great economic benefits to towns such as Burnham.”
“We need investors to get behind it again, but in this economic climate that’s a big challenge.”
Town councillors in Burnham this week reacted with dismay to the news.
Deputy Mayor Martin Cox said: “I am disappointed that the plans have not been able to proceed. This is a project I would really like to see go ahead. It would be great for Burnham.”
Last year, town councillors earmarked £2,500 towards funding a ferry service viability study plus the ferry trials in the hope that the service would boost local tourism and bring new visitors to the town from Wales. Councillors have this week voted to keep the funding in ‘reserves’ and they will review the position in a year’s time.
Cllr Dennis Davey says he thinks the scheme could yet still go ahead in the future with financial backing from EDF if its Hinkley Point C project goes ahead.
“I don’t think the project is completely dead – it might benefit from EDF funding in the future,” he said.