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Council Holds "productive discussions" Over Condor's Future In Weymouth

Condor Express

6:52am 2nd July 2014
(Updated 6:53am 2nd July 2014)

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council says it's in "productive discussions" with authorities in Jersey and Guernsey about the cross channel ferry link between Weymouth and the Channel Islands.

The borough council says its looking at a number of options and will continue to work with Condor Ferries and Jersey and Guernsey over the future of the service.

Cllr Mike Byatt, Brief holder for Corporate Affairs and Continuous Improvement, said: "We understand that Condor has a current five year operating agreement with the Channel Islands that it is seeking to replace with a longer term deal, in order that it can invest significant sums in a larger vessel.

"The council has invested £4.5 million in recent repairs which had to be done and the borough council is not in a position to invest further money to accommodate the new vessel."

The borough council understands it is likely that any potential agreement between Condor and the Channel Islands would be in place by late summer allowing Condor to invest in the new vessel the Austal, which may operate by late spring 2015.

"Condor has always stated its preference is to sail from Weymouth as the distance and time it takes to cross the channel is less," Cllr Byatt said.

"It is our understanding that Condor has three other catamarans in operation, one of which works the routes to France and has at least seven years operation left in it, and two others that currently service Weymouth and Poole, however we are unaware of the service life left in these. We will continue discussions with Condor to see whether these vessels could continue to operate from berth three alongside operating the new vessel from Poole Harbour if we cannot find external funding for the new berth."

"These are complex commercial negotiations, but we are in regular dialogue with Condor and now the Channel Islands, to understand the implications for Weymouth."

An agreement between the council and Condor is in place for Condor to operate from Weymouth until Summer 2015 at the very least.

Cllr Byatt said: "We continue to look at all the options available to us, including if Condor decide it no longer wishes to operate from the borough.

"We have sought support from the Government and also through the Local Enterprise Partnership to access funds for the structural works that would be required. Alongside this we will be working on plans for the peninsula site should Condor decide not to continue to run a ferry service from Weymouth in the future."

"We will continue to assess the business case for Condor's continuation alongside the business case for the development of the peninsula as part of our strategic economic vision. We will endeavour to make the best decision in the interests of the borough and its residents."

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