Council leaders accused of ignoring Ferry fiasco

Cumbria County Council has been accused of ignoring the plight of businesses and residents struggling with the loss of the Windemere Ferry service after it was revealed that the council’s Cabinet will not discuss the issue when it meets on Thursday (26 July) - its last meeting before 27 September.

South Lakes councillor James Airey has asked the Liberal Democrat and Labour-led council to start prioritising the resumption of the service after it was suspended at the end of May following an engine fire.

Minutes published by the council also show that the local authority’s Cabinet – the council’s main decision-making body - has not publicly discussed the Ferry suspension at all since it was taken out of service at the end of May.

The revelation that the Windermere Ferry suspension is not even on the public agenda of the council’s last Cabinet meeting until the autumn comes a week after local businesses reported a 30-40 per cent drop in takings since the council-run service was left marooned.

The county council confirmed this week that it waited a month before ordering a new engine for the Ferry, and two months to begin repair work.

Councillor James Airey said: “It is deeply concerning that our Liberal Democrat and Labour council is not using its last meeting until the autumn to urgently and publicly discuss the steps being taken to resolve the suspension of the Windermere Ferry.

“This, taken with the news this week that the council waited a month before ordering a new engine for the Ferry and two months before starting repair work, smacks of an administration sitting on its hands when decisions need to be taken.

“Businesses are already suffering and face the prospect of a lost tourist season thanks to the staggering indifference and lethargy that the council has shown since the service was suspended at the end of May.

“It is time for the council to re-examine its priorities and devote proper time at its meeting this Thursday to discuss putting some energy behind the resumption of this vital service, and support for those businesses and residents affected by its loss.”

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County Council newsletter - Windermere Ferry 2.22 MB