Former Hayling Ferry boss says closure was not her fault

The Hayling Ferry
The Hayling Ferry
  • Hayling to Eastney ferry service dogged by problems
  • Finally closed in March after operator went into administration
  • Former owner says she kept it going for the community – even though she lost money
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THE full breakdown of taxpayers’ cash used to subsidise the now-defunct Hayling Ferry has been revealed.

The privately-owned ferry, which connected Eastney to Hayling, finally went bust in March after years of problems.

I did it because I wanted to help the people of Hayling Island. That is the only reason I kept going for as long as I did.

Frida Edwards

There are a number of creditors – including a boat builders which is owed £80,000 following major repair work on one of the ferries.

But former owner Frida Edwards said she cannot possibly personally pay back any of the creditors.

And the administrators say it is still unclear whether there will be enough money left over from the sale of the two ferries.

When asked whether she would consider paying back any of the subsidies Mrs Edwards said she could not and added: ‘It is not my fault the ferry shut.

‘I put my own money into it and I did not get anything in return.

‘I did it because I wanted to help the people of Hayling Island.

‘That is the only reason I kept going for as long as I did.’

Councillor Sean Woodward, who is in charge of transport at the county council, has confirmed the county will not provide any subsidy to a future ferry service.
In 1989 the council paid £56,000 towards the Pride of Hayling.

It spent a further £42,000 towards overhaul of the craft and renewal of its engines totalling £42,000.

In 2009 the annual subsidy was increased to £25,165.

From 2013 the annual bill has been around £80,000.

In the past eight years more than £330,000 has been handed over to keep the ferry in operation – made up of a £193,000 subsidy to the ferry operator, £92,000 licence fee for the use of the pontoons at Eastney and Hayling and £75,000 in the last three years for additional maintenance costs for the pontoons.

Having invited firms to bid for the subsidy to run the ferry service, Cllr Woodward looked at the figures and decided they did not stack up.

The ferry is mostly used by children from Hayling travelling to private schools in Portsmouth.

Instead the 100 users a day have been having to do a 30-mile round trip.

Both ferries have been sold but no companies have taken on the crossing.