The Conservative Group leader on Cumbria County Council has written to the local authority’s leader and deputy leader, calling on them to make public the steps they are taking to resolve the suspension of the Lake Windermere Ferry, and guarantee the service’s long-term future.
Please find below the text of the letter sent today by Councillor James Airey to Councillor Stewart Young, the Labour leader of Cumbia County Council, and his Liberal Democrat Deputy, Councillor Ian Stewart:
Dear Stewart and Ian,
I am writing to seek information on the steps the council is taking to support communities and ensure the speedy resumption of the Windermere service following the suspension of the council-run service at the end of May.
Information from the council following the service’s suspension has been woefully inadequate and, in the interests of openness and transparency, I am writing to request urgent answers to the following questions:
1. Can you provide details of the interim solutions which the council has explored to provide a vehicle service across the Lake between now and the resumption of the Ferry service?
2. Can you confirm that the new engine, which the council said in its 5 July statement is required before the Ferry service can resume, has been ordered, the date the order was placed, and the delivery and fitting timescales provided by the council’s supplier?
3. The Windermere Ferry service forms part of the B5285 road. Can you confirm if the council has put in place a Temporary Traffic Regulation Order (TTRO) and undertaken public consultation with affected communities and users on signage, alternative services and other mitigating steps which would normally be undertaken by the council in the event of a temporary road closure.
4. Diversionary signage, informing motorists of the Ferry suspension, only began to appear on roads into the Lake District last week. Why has the council taken almost two months to take this basic step, and will you now confirm that this signage will supplement and emphasise that Hawkshead and communities affected by the service suspension are open for business?
5. Can you confirm that season ticket holders for the Windermere Ferry service have received a full refund?
6. Can the council confirm the number of staff normally engaged in the operation of the Windermere Ferry service (including any seasonal staffing), and whether these staff have been reallocated to other operations during the current suspension?
7. Finally, the unacceptable delays in restoring the Windermere Ferry have led to understandable local concerns over the council’s commitment to the long-term future of the service. Can you confirm that the county council will continue to fund and provide a Ferry service on the Lake and has no plans to cease operations in the short, medium and long-term?
I look forward to your prompt response given the considerable public interest in this matter and its consequences for local communities affected by the loss of the Windermere Ferry at this critical time of year.
Councillor James Airey
Conservative Group Leader
Cumbria County Council