Page last updated at 17:06 GMT, Thursday, 7 January 2010

Scilly Isles ferry link scheme 'could founder'

Penzance Harbour
Opponents say the plans would ruin the historic seafront

A Cornwall MP has said he fears stalled plans to improve ferry links between the Isles of Scilly and the mainland could fail altogether.

Cornwall councillors refused planning permission for a new ferry terminal at Penzance Harbour last month.

Andrew George MP said the move had left the project in a "catastrophic" state.

The St Ives MP, who claims the multi-million pound project has divided his constituents, has asked the government to step in to help resolve the issue.

"The project has been seriously knocked off course," said Mr George, during a debate he initiated in Westminster Hall.

'Knocked off-course'

"I would like to see central government...actually coming in and offering support."

Islanders rely on the ferry link to transport tourists and supplies from the mainland.

However, many in Penzance are opposed to a new passenger and freight terminal being built on the seafront at Battery Rocks.

MPs discussed problems with the ferry project in Westminster Hall: From BBC Democracy Live

Mr George, who said there were fears the scheme could "founder on Battery Rocks", asked if officials from the Department for Transport could help with a review of the project and an exploration of alternative options.

Transport minister Paul Clark emphasised his department was supportive of the project, but added that it was not for the government to dictate the outcome of the dispute.

The Scillonian ferry and the freighter Gry Maritha are both in need of replacement, and the preferred option is to introduce a larger, single ferry.

Island representatives have said they will have to consider a mainland link with Falmouth if the situation is not resolved.

Print Sponsor

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