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Ferry link from Swansea to Devon resurfaces

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: June 16, 2014

Ilfracombe in Devon, which could be linked to Swansea by ferry if a new plan comes to fruition.

Comments (16)

PLANS to launch a ferry service between Ilfracombe and Swansea have resurfaced on the other side of the Bristol Channel.

The idea was first put forward by Severn Link in 2010 and greeted enthusiastically by business and community leaders in both ports but plans floundered due to the expense of putting the necessary infrastructure in place.

Now Ilfracombe businessman Mark Hutchings has revealed his intentions to launch the scheme at a meeting with North Devon Council.

However, he called for caution and stressed that the project could not be guaranteed until a number of issues were resolved.

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He said: "I can't understate how important it is for us to get this funding."

Unlike the previous proposals, Mr Hutchings said he was looking at commissioning a custom ferry to be built.

"It makes a lot more sense building something that we want than trying to adapt something to fit our needs," he said.

A Swansea Council spokesman said: "We've not been involved in any recent discussions about this idea but the introduction of a ferry service between Ilfracombe and Swansea is something we'd welcome in principle. The arrival of more visitors here would boost our local businesses."

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  • mallam  |  June 17 2014, 7:13PM

    Notice how this guy has stressed the importance of getting ''funding''! That means he gets paid whether it gets of the ground or not.

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  • GowerHooker  |  June 17 2014, 5:04PM

    I would use this ferry every week (twice) if it made sense. However there are a number or reasons why I probably wouldn't, despite my love of the sea and loathing of motorways (particularly being stuck in traffic at the Severn Bridge, Brynglas Tunnels, Port Talbot & Ynysforgan). First of all the reality. Exeter or Plymouth are the main business destinations that regular users would be going to. It takes 1hour 45mins to get from Ilfracombe to Exeter and about 2hours 15mins to get from Ilfracombe to Plymouth. The crossing would take at least 2 hours, unless they go for a really amazing vessel (expensive) and you would probably have to arrive an hour before sailing. So, to get to Exeter, you'd be looking at between 4 and 5 hours from Swansea. Travelling along the motorway, within the speed limit (usually) takes me about 2hours 30mins to pass Exeter. As has been alluded in previous comments, there aren't that many people who live in North Devon (or beyond) and the story is the same for Swansea and further West - so who needs the service? I probably use about £25 worth of diesel getting to Exeter from Swansea. I imagine I would use about £10 from Ilfracombe to Exeter. Is the cost of the ferry going to be anywhere near £15 for a car (if it can take them) and passenger? And then I'll assume that there will only be one ferry, which if it can do the crossing in 2 hours won't do more than 2 return trips a day. So, either the south bound or north bound departure (or all of them) will be at an inconvenient time for business users. If the ferry doesn't take cars, it will only attract business users who can afford to leave a vehicle at either ferry port or hire one and for the facilities to exist to do so - more expense. I love the idea, I honestly do, but I can't see how it can make any sense for anything other than tourists and the occasional business user. The business model needs to be based on low passenger numbers. It should make the most of the beautiful areas it could pass and emphasise the journey rather than the destination. Whatever happened to the proposals for a barrage across the Bristol Channel?

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  • mallam  |  June 17 2014, 1:29PM

    This is an annual event.

    |   3
  • Jiffy  |  June 17 2014, 11:49AM

    Gowerview - if the ferry was up and running, how often would YOU use it?

  • eighties_jack  |  June 16 2014, 11:52PM

    Common sense#

    |   1
  • eighties_jack  |  June 16 2014, 11:51PM

    Well said gowerview the city's leaders lack any drive and ambition to take us forward. Problem is these ideas are just commented sense for the water infrastructure we have to use but only the general public can see it and not the dinosaur committee that is quickly throttling our city's economy. You want Swansea to become an Internationally recognized european waterfront city? Then start by using common sense ideas and I'm not talking about the boulevard scheme or that stupid road clogging bendy bus

    |   13
  • Gowerview  |  June 16 2014, 11:24PM

    It's time AM's like Mike Hedges and Edwina Hart made a bold stand to find funding for such links. Agree with previous post that suggest the Swansea to Cork ferry should be re-established too. The Swansea to Cork ferry should never have been lost and is a key economic driver. AM's like Vale of Glamorgan 's Andrew RT Davies made a real song and dance when Cardiff/Wales airport needed significant funding. Let's see the Swansea/West Wales AM's make a strong case for investment in Swansea's ferry port, rail and regeneration strategy

    |   8
  • SAswan  |  June 16 2014, 11:02PM

    why don't the people responsible for transport in wales/swansea propose projects for more use of water instead of spending millions on road systems for cars. what happened to the 36 mile inland waterway connecting river tawe/sa1/port tennant canal/neath canal/brecon canal together. water taxi speedboat along the tawe,catermarran between swansea/mumbles/llanelli/tenby, ferry to ireland

    |   5
  • lumpy73  |  June 16 2014, 9:30PM

    Sounds like a great idea to me! If they can find 8m to concrete the entrance to the centre of swansea, I'm sure a financial contribution to this idea is worthwhile. A car ferry would be even better, but lets walk before we can run. Wales is so badly served with transport links to other parts of the UK. I hope this one gets off the ground!

    |   14
  • Lezz_T  |  June 16 2014, 7:53PM

    The entire population of North Devon is only 94k. so how much demand is there for a ferry and why would anyone from Ilfracombe want to visit Swansea? One look at the city centre and they would never want to come back.