A LIFELINE FOR THE FERRY “LIFELINE”
Commenting on the announcement this afternoon that Government Ministers are unable to support the Isles of Scilly Ferry project as submitted but is keen to work with Cornwall Council, the Steamship Company and other stakeholders to develop a “simpler, lower cost solution” for the Isles of Scilly Ferry service. Mr George said:
“The announcement is a disappointment. However, I am confident that many important elements of this vital project can be retrieved, provided that a coalition of stakeholders now comes together with a real determination to resolve matters in a calm and rational manner.
“I fear that the project was destined to be turned down completely had Transport Ministers gathered an impression that the two Councils’ high risk “all or nothing” approach was shared by the mainstream communities in Penzance and on Scilly. It is wrong to gamble with a lifeline service.
“Crucially, Ministers could see what was going on and were persuaded that lower cost alternatives were available and have sensibly asked the Councils to think again rather than turn the whole thing down.
“Reassuringly, the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company are renowned for their commitment to this service and loyalty to the Scillies and Penzance over the last 90 years of unbroken service. I feel confident the Company will work to use their freedom and talent to constructively engage to help find a long-term solution.
“Congratulations must go to Penzance Town Council and the Penzance Business Network for helping to persuade the Government that, rather than flatly rejecting the project, rational alternatives were available.
“It was regrettable that the credibility of the need for an improved ferry link was undermined by such things as the Councils’ claim that the only alternative was to run a ferry service from Falmouth and by other behaviour. However, Ministers have been prepared to overlook this and to throw the project a lifeline, when many of us feared that the Scillies and Penzance would lose everything.
“With a change of attitude, and a determination to find a solution which brings people and communities together, I am confident that a project to improve the Ferry Link can be secured.”