Plan of action for future of Hayling Ferry is launched

COUNCILLORS have vowed to try to secure a bus link and thousands of pounds in subsidy cash for a vital ferry service.

Thursday, 4th January 2018, 9:46 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th January 2018, 9:47 pm
(L-r) Cllr Jackie Branson, Cllr Michael Wilson, Hayling Ferry skipper Colin Hill and Cllr Tim Pike in front of the Pride of Hayling boat

Havant and Hampshire councillors held talks with the skipper and supporters of the Hayling Ferry yesterday in a bid to improve its future prospects.

The urgent two-hour meeting was called by organisers of the much-loved service, who have previously slammed the lack of supporting transport links to its two jetties at Hayling Island and Eastney.

But in a productive discussion, Cllr Tim Pike – from Havant Borough Council (HBC) – promised to kick-start talks with Stagecoach for a trial bus service to the Hayling Ferry.

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Cllr Pike said: ‘I very much hope Stagecoach will work with us to look at the best way of including the ferry within their bus service on Hayling.

‘I hope we can start these conversations in a matter of weeks, to get a solution in place before the summer when more and more people come to the island.’

Additionally, Cllr Lance Quantrill of HBC and Hampshire County Council (HCC) pledged to apply for a cash subsidy for the service.

He hopes to secure an annual pro-rata grant from HCC, similar to the £75,000-per-year it recently agreed to give operators of the Hythe Ferry in Southampton.

Cllr Quantrill said: ‘It’s clear now there is a case here for help to maintain the ferry, make it commercially viable and secure its future.

‘I will work with Colin Hill, the ferry’s skipper, to apply for an appropriate subsidy. It’s time to think about the next 20 years of the Hayling Ferry, instead of the next two.’

The promise of action from councillors was met kindly by Mr Hill, who has pencilled a follow-up meeting on February 7 to track their progress.

He said: ‘This is a vital service that needs support. Today has been very productive and I look forward to seeing where this will take us.’