Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Ferry service may start in 2010

The harbour at Ilfracombe
Ilfracombe is a popular destination for Welsh tourists, says Chris Marrow.

A new high-speed passenger ferry service linking Devon and Wales could be operating by spring 2010, according to the man behind the plan.

Chris Marrow, from Mariners Marine Consultants, said he is negotiating to secure the use of a pair of ferries.

The crossing between Ilfracombe, in north Devon, and Swansea, in south Wales, would take about 50 minutes.

Mr Marrow said it was being discussed with the Welsh Assembly Government and South West Regional Development Agency.

Mr Marrow, who is from Cornwall, said: "Initially this will be a fast passenger service, but there might be a demand for a car ferry as well.

People have remarked that you can actually buy Welsh flags in the shops in Ilfracombe and Minehead
Chris Marrow, Mariners Marine Consultants

"There's currently no infrastructure for a car ferry in Ilfracombe, but it's under discussion."

He denied the passenger service was unnecessary and said he could not think of "anywhere else in the world" which has a body of water like the Bristol Channel without a ferry service.

"South Wales is the prime origin of tourists along the north Devon and Somerset coasts," he added.

"People have remarked that you can actually buy Welsh flags in the shops in Ilfracombe and Minehead."

Mr Morrow said he met seven local authorities in England and Wales earlier this month to discuss the "trans boundary" plans.

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