‘Schools have been left in the lurch by sudden Hayling ferry closure’

The Hayling Ferry
The Hayling Ferry
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SCHOOLS have been ‘kept in the dark’ about the sudden closure of a ferry service which pupils relied on.

Children getting to Portsmouth from Hayling were the main users of the Hayling Ferry which stopped operating on Friday.

Green campaigners say it is essential to get the ferry up and running again.

The ferry operators, the Edwards family, have refused to comment on the sudden closure of the service they have run for 30 years.

A message on the company’s Twitter page simply reads ‘closed’ and the phone number no longer works.

Barbara Wareham, the bursar of Mayville High School, Southsea, said alternative arrangements are having to be made to transport pupils from Hayling to school.

It is understood students from St John’s College and Portsmouth High have also been affected.

She said: ‘Regrettably we weren’t given any notice. We would obviously like to see the ferry running, it’s so important for the children. It will take at least an hour round trip for the children to get into school now.’

They will instead be picked up in a minibus from Havant.

Administrators have been called in following a year of problems which saw the boats out of action for months and fines for overloading and not having enough life jackets on board.

Both the boats are up for sale.

Ray Cobbett, co-ordinator of Hampshire Friends of the Earth said: ‘It is essential a sustainable rescue package is devised to save this vital transport link – the only alternative to the overcrowded and polluted road to the mainland. It’s an important part of the island’s tourism economy, popular with cyclists doing round-the-harbour trips as well as visitors to both Portsmouth and Hayling and in a year of the America’s Cup.

‘We have millions to spend on a sailing event but nothing it seems for a simple ferry.’

However, Hampshire County Council, which part-funded the service, says it has no obligation to keep it going because it was a commercial operation.