Fast ferry features in £2.5bn transport bid for Torbay
A fast ferry between Brixham and Torquay, a new cycleway and a new bus service to the harbour area are part of a new £2.5 million sustainable transport bid for Torbay.
The council is putting the final touches to a scheme to help stimulate growth in Torbay, while reducing its carbon footprint, before submitting it to the Department for Transport. The plan, which must be with the Government by March, includes new pontoons for all existing ferry operators in the bay and a new cycle route between The Willows and the harbourside.
In her report to a transport working party, council officer Sally Farley said the scheme's benefits would help reduce congestion, improve access to Torquay and Brixham harbours and provide an alternative to car travel.
Councillor Robert Excell, member for transport, raised concerns about the position of new pontoons and how they would be managed, especially in view of cruise ships anchoring off Tor Bay.
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Captain Kevin Mowat, director of marine services and Torbay harbourmaster, said the position of the pontoons was a decision for the harbour committee.
He added: "There is an issue about positioning as far as Torquay is concerned. Major infrastructure repair work is needed. Different ferries come and go from various places.
"From a sustainable transport point of view, the planned pontoon is a good location but from a harbourmaster point of view, it is not."
Highways council officer Patrick Carney told the meeting: "Let's have a debate on where the new pontoon goes when the £2.5 million from the Government is in our pocket. What matters now is we need to be comfortable that we can make it work."
Although a new transport strategy would also test the options for a third harbour in Torquay and a northern arm for Brixham, those two major infrastructure projects have not been included in the bid.
Meanwhile, Torbay Mayor Gordon Oliver has asked for a report on how businesses such as fishing, diving, transport and tourism could be harnessed to create more jobs.
He said: "We want to explore all the economic, social and cultural benefits of linking Tor Bay itself with the economic regeneration of the land-based activities."