The Fleetwood to Knott End Ferry may have been thrown a potential four-year lifeline - but that didn’t stop councillors making waves at a key meeting.
The ferry was the subject of a verbal tug of war during Lancashire County Council’s annual budget meeting.
Do not let the council’s legacy be the sinking of the ferry
As councillors considered cuts in the year ahead, a Conservative amendment was tabled which included reinstating up to £85,000 of county council subsidy for the ferry, if required.
Tory County and Wyre Council cabinet member Val Taylor said thousands use the ferry to access services, go shopping or take tourist trips and warned: “It’s a 26-mile round trip on the ferry or five minutes by boat. We will be ending 176 years of history and destroying the valuable historic links between Fleetwood and Knott End. Do not let Lancashire County Council’s legacy be that they sank the Fleetwood to Knott End ferry in 2017.”
The amendment failed and Fleetwood Labour councillor Lorraine Beavers said: “The Knott End ferry is continuing as you are well aware. Wyre County Council and Lancashire County Council have already done a deal and Lancashire County Council has gifted the ferry to Wyre Council and it is now out to tender for people to run this ferry.
“To stand in this chamber and be quite aware of what’s going on as you are a Wyre borough council cabinet member, that’s disgraceful.”
The county council has agreed to hand over the boat to a new operator, if it meets Wyre’s requirements. Wyre, meanwhile, has offered a four-year subsidy to any new service, which it hopes will become self-sustaining and will consider tenders on March 22.
Coun Taylor said “Wyre Council cannot meet the current subsidy on its own which is why I have called on LCC to reconsider their decision to withdraw funding, or there is a very real possibility that the service will cease after 176 years of operating.
“There is no agreement in place for the transfer of the ferry to Wyre.
“Discussions have taken place with LCC about the potential gifting of the boat to a ferry operator following the tender process.”