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10.12.04
New King Harry Ferry

A new larger King Harry Ferry is to be built next year to replace the current one which was built in Penryn in 1974 and was recently named in the top ten most beautiful ferry crossings in the world.

Chairman of the King Harry Ferry, David Hodgson, said: "The planning and preparation for a new ferry has taken nearly four years from the date on which the new owners took over. It is hoped the new ferry is ready to go into service in the first quarter of 2006."

He said the need for a new ferry arises from a number of factors. These include the age of the current ferry which is now 30 years old; maintenance costs are increasing and there is a worry of disruption to a service which has gained a reputation for reliability.

"The current ferry was designed to take up to 28 cars, however the average car today is 15% longer and wider than they were in 1974, so now a full load is only 23 vehicles. The new ferry will infact take 34 cars – an average increase of 11 cars per crossing. It will not only be larger, but will be designed with fuel efficiency and noise reduction as key planning criteria. In addition, the greater space between cars will enable easier access."

Mr Hodgson added: "The current ferry has an excellent reliability record and is held in great affection by those who use her whether on a regular basis or for a single trip whilst on holiday. We must salute the previous owners for commissioning such a wonderful vessel, which is one of only five remaining chain ferries in the country. It is considered not only an important part of the maritime history of Cornwall but an essential line of communication."

"The benefits of a new ferry will include continuation of the uninterrupted service which customers currently enjoy, reduced queuing times particularly in the summer months, a more environmentally friendly ferry, as well as economic benefits arising from providing more jobs, the ability to carry more vehicles thus increasing access to the Roseland," Mr Hodgson said.

It is estimated the new ferry and the associated shore-side infrastructure will cost nearly £3 million – of which 65% will be provided by the company. The remainder will come from an Objective One investment through the European Regional Development Fund. The chairman concluded by thanking the 85 businesses, organisations and individuals who wrote letters of support for the project.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "The ferry bridge has been part of the historical fabric of the Fal estuary for over 500 years. The King Harry ferry is a much-loved and distinctive part of the commuting infrastructure of Cornwall. Key investments in mid and south Cornwall, such as the Eden Project, National Maritime Museum Cornwall and continued developments in the education and health sectors have created and accelerated growth which demands improvements like this. The investment in the new ferry will bring improvements for both tourism and business and meet the increasing needs of the local population. And it is sympathetic to the special environment in which it has always played a key role."

Truro and St Austell MP, Matthew Taylor, added: "The company has made great improvements to the service over the past few years, but they have pushed the current ferry bridge to the edge of its technical capabilities and the only way to continue this level of service improvement is through increasing maintenance costs that reduce the company's ability to build up reserves to build a new ferry bridge – which would in any case soon be necessary. I am particularly impressed with the contribution the service makes to reduce traffic on the A39 and in Truro in particular. The new ferry bridge will bring direct benefits to the Cornish infrastructure whilst at the same time enhance the general "Cornish product", particularly for locals and commuters but also visitors to the region. I very strongly hope this project can be completed."

There is a photo shoot at the King Harry Ferry, Tuesday December 14th between 9am and 10am when David Hodgson will be available for more comments/photos.

For further information please contact Ginny Kay on 01872 861914 to arrange a visit.

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Editor's notes:

Photo shoot:

At the King Harry Ferry, Friday January 7th at 10am.

Contacts:

For further comments, contact David Hodgson on 01872 863953 or 01392 851400.

Research has identified that:

In 2000 the ferry carried 226,000 cars per year and that this has now increased to 270,000.

12% of all business people living on the Roseland do not use the ferry due to the risk of long queues.

Currently customers using the ferry reduce traffic through Truro by 4.5%.

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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