Weymouth ferry harbour repairs to cost £4 million
Weymouth and Portland Borough Council will spend nearly £4 million to repair a damaged harbour berth.
Councillors had initially thought the work would cost £2 million. However, following emergency work carried out in the summer, it was discovered the existing ferry berth to be in a significantly poor state - meaning the work will cost £3.92 million.
The council has recommended the work will be payed for by initially borrowing from the Treasury Management Fund.
Work on the damaged berth is due to start in November and is expected to last around 24 weeks.
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The Management Commiittee agreed Balfour Beatty were the preferred contractor to carry out the work, which will include demolishing part of the existing quay structure, driving in new sheet piles, installing new bollards for ferries to moor up against and resurfacing the quay.
Cllr Gill Taylor, Brief Holder for Environment and Sustainability at Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, said: "The council is very aware of the importance of the harbour as a ferry terminal. It is one of our large employers in the area and also brings benefits to local tourism.
"It is important not only for us but also for Condor and the Channel Islands and we need to look to the future to ensure that the works we undertake now not only meet the immediate needs but are also appropriate for the future needs of Weymouth as a ferry terminal."
A report carried out in 2002 found that the ferry service directly contributed £7.7 million to the local economy.
Condor Ferries moved services from Weymouth to Poole in February, after damage to the harbour structure was discovered. While services had moved to Poole, the council estimated Weymouth was losing around £650,000 a year.
Condor stated at the time that they would like to return to Weymouth, but said they were unable to confirm a date until they were certain repairs would be finished.
"We are now in a position to appoint a contractor for this work in the expectation that Condor will return to Weymouth" added Cllr Taylor.
"Condor has indicated that they wish to do so, and we are working closely with them to ensure they are able to resume the ferry service once works are complete."