EFFORTS to reinstate the Hayling Ferry have been dealt a blow as Portsmouth City Council ruled itself out of supporting its return.
Portsmouth Tory traffic boss Ken Ellcome says the authority has no intention of providing cash to help get it back up and running.
We have had to make cuts and the last thing I would do when we have had to cut back services is to subsidise Hayling Ferry, which was used by very few.Portsmouth Tory traffic boss Ken Ellcome
It comes despite pleas being made by Havant and Hayling Island Labour Party for funding to come from the community to bring it back.
The current owners of the boat, Tim Trayte and Dave Baker, are putting forward their business plan at a meeting later this month.
But Cllr Ellcome says no public money should be poured into the campaign – and it would be down to Langstone Harbour Board to dip into its pockets and get it going.
Cllr Ellcome told The News: ‘We have got no money to subsidise Hayling Ferry.
‘Langstone Harbour Board is sat on reserves, I don’t know how much they are.
‘But if it particularly wants to run a ferry service before public money can be put into it, then I would expect it to use its funds first, because we have no money. We have had to make cuts and the last thing I would do when we have had to cut back services is to subsidise Hayling Ferry, which was used by very few.
‘I don’t want the public to run away with the idea the council is pushing for Hayling Ferry to be reinstated, because it’s not.’
The Portsmouth Lib Dems group proposed in its 2016/2017 budget that £10,000 should have gone to an operator towards start-up costs, but it was never agreed upon.
Lib Dem councillor Matthew Winnington, who sits on the Langstone Harbour Board, said it was already spending a lot of reserves funding a new pontoon costing £250,000. And it no longer receives funding from councils.
But he wants to explore how a proportion of cash for community improvements from the Savoy retirement flats development being led by McCarthy & Stone, in Southsea, can be used to fund initial operator costs.