Dorset

High Speed Ferries in Weymouth to Cherbourg '2017 launch'

Weymouth ferry terminal Image copyright Chris Talbot
Image caption The service from Weymouth could run to Cherbourg two or three times a day

A new passenger ferry service from Weymouth to Cherbourg in France will now launch in 2017, its operator says.

High Speed Ferries had originally hoped to have crossings up and running from next month but the date was pushed back after the borough council said the firm needed "further financial backing".

Director Jonathan Packer says the firm now aims to launch the Western Channel Service in January or February.

The company is planning to use the terminal left by Condor Ferries.

Mr Packer said: "Starting in early 2017 will give us time to secure the best fast ferry and to develop the necessary port facilities to meet our scheduling requirements.

'Working together'

"This includes the facilities needed to meet the new immigration and customs requirements at Weymouth. It also meets our investors' wish for a slower start-up than originally envisaged.

"Recent, positive meetings with the Port of Cherbourg and senior officers from Weymouth & Portland Borough Council have demonstrated their continued support. We are working together on preparations for the service."

Condor relocated its cross-channel services to Poole in 2015 following the introduction of its larger high-speed vessels.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council had already spent £4.5m repairing the ferry port after the harbour wall collapsed in 2012.

The authority had considered closing the unused terminal but agreed to keep it open in readiness for the new service.

High Speed Ferries said the crossing, which would be its first, would take less than two hours and create 90 jobs in Weymouth and Portland.

The firm previously considered starting a service to France from Portland in 2010.

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