Residents and businesses encouraged to attend ferry toll increase inquiry

Purbeck District Council is encouraging businesses and members of the public to attend a public inquiry on proposed toll increases for the Studland Ferry.

An independent Inspector has been appointed by the Secretary of State for Transport to hold the public inquiry. It will take place at 10am on Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 September 2018 at Studland Village Hall.

Purbeck District Council, together with Swanage Town Council; Corfe Castle Parish Council; Studland Parish Council; Wareham St Martin Parish Council; and Worth Matravers Parish Council, has instructed a barrister to present their case at the hearing.

Anyone wishing to speak at the inquiry should arrive at the start of day 1 and indicate to the inspector that they would like to speak. The Inspector will set out at the start of the inquiry how proceedings will run and who he will hear from.

In early 2018, The Bournemouth-Swanage Motor Road and Ferry Company applied to increase the tolls for the ferry crossing from Sandbanks to Shell Bay.

Members of Purbeck District Council voted unanimously to object to the proposed increases, and the Leader of the Council wrote to the Department for Transport to make the Council’s objections clear.

In his letter, Councillor Gary Suttle expressed the Council’s concerns that the proposed increases would only benefit the Company and have a detrimental impact on local residents who rely on the ferry to get to and from work, the local economy and the district’s already-congested roads.

Councillor Suttle said: “All members of the Council were concerned that increased profits would merely result in enhanced dividends to the company’s shareholders and not be used for the proposed new ferry.  Members were also in agreement that the proposed increases would have a detrimental impact on local residents and businesses who rely on the ferry”.

“The only alternative route to the ferry is a 20 mile round trip on a road that passes through several villages that are already congested at peak times, and particularly in the summer months. The additional road traffic will contribute to increased pollution, and would contradict the Government’s policy of improving air quality.”

The five local councils that have joined with the District Council in objecting to the proposals share these views and are working together to present the strongest possible case to the inspector.

Councillor Suttle continued: “We urge anyone who is concerned about these proposals to attend the hearing.”