Knott End ferry ‘not to close’ says Wyre

CIVIC leaders have acted to quell fears that Fleetwood’s famous ferry to Knott End is under threat of closure.

Wyre Council moved to quash concerns about the service after it was announced the authority was launching a review into it.

Wyre’s overview and scrutiny committee will shortly begin carrying out a value for money review of the sailings.

The council insists this is a matter of formality and something local authorities must do to ensure services are being run as well and as efficiently as they can be.

A Wyre spokeswoman said; “To avoid speculation, the council would like to reiterate that the scope of this review does not include exploring options to close the services.

“The exercise is carried out periodically and will look at opportunities to improve the service and make it more cost- effective if necessary.”

Fleetwood Town Council chairman Alan Marsh said: “I am glad to hear the ferry is not at risk.

“It is a valuable service for Fleetwood, particularly when you look at the bigger picture for tourism.

“When tourists come here on a day trip from Blackpool, it is part of the overall experience to take a short ferry trip.

“And let’s face it, where else can you do that on the Fylde coast.”

He added: “I cannot see where saving could actually be made by the council, but the main thing is that the service stays put.

“At a time when we are talking about new facilities in the town, like a possible skate park, we don’t then want to be losing things like the Knott End ferry.”

Wyre Council currently provides an all-year service, thanks to the all-weather £350,000 vessel Wyre Rose, but Lancashire County Council is also a stakeholder which provides funding.

The actual ferry service is run not by Wyre, but by contractor Wyre Marine.

The council’s review will look at the costs of running the ferry, the benefits of the service, customer satisfaction and how the service can be improved if possible.

Although the council insists it will not shut the ferry down, the review will also look at the cost and viability of running any alternative services, such as a bus.

The ferry – named Wyre Rose – has fought back to achieve great success since early set-backs.

Mechanical problems and delays in crew training meant the purpose-built vessel was tied-up for most of its first operational year, 2006.

The propulsion system was then damaged by debris from the river. But the vessel has proved its worth and continues to be a popular draw

However, Wyre wants to ensure the vessel is proving a value-for-money service.