I rather hate reporting on the closure of passenger services the last one was the helicopter route to the Isles of Scilly two years ago. However this latest one is right on my doorstep here in Dorset and a key ferry route that has been running for decades with Condor Ferries pulling out from the port.
The last commercial fast cat passenger and car ferry service Condor Ferries to The Channel Islands left Weymouth Harbour for the last time.
Although the company has been operating this service since the 1990’s Condor Ferries have now moved their operation to Poole some 25 miles along the coast.
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council had recently spent £4.5m rebuilding the ferry berth after it began to collapse back in 2012. It reopened around 18 months ago but the ferry company have bought a much larger ferry and the harbour in Weymouth required somewhere in the region of another £10.0m invested in it in order to be able to continue to operate Condor’s latest ferry.
However the local council had problems in raising that sort of money and so Condor Ferries opted for Poole. Although the distance to The Channel Islands is further and there are issues with the ferry negotiating Poole harbour therefore the journey times from Dorset to the islands has increased.
It is estimated the move will cost Weymouth Harbour about £750,000 a year.
Weymouth has always had very close ferry ties to the Channel Islands with much of the produce grown on the islands early tomato’s and potato’s being imported through Weymouth. Sealink ran ferries before Condor started their services with the er then fast cat ferries.
The withdrawal of ferry services will be a blow to the tourism industry in South Dorset who’s hotels, bed and breakfast establishments, cafe and restaurants possibly suffering the most.