King’s Lynn ferry consultation ‘flawed’, claims civic society
Campaigners claim the consultation over the future of King's Lynn's 700-year-old ferry is 'flawed'.
The town's civic society claims the future of the service should be considered separately – instead of as part of a consultation about buses.
It claims the process is confusing because the title of the county council consultation refers solely to bus services and makes no mention of the ferry. And it said the ferry is buried at the very end of the list of services in the lengthy consultation document, meaning it could be overlooked and thus escape the attention of the very public it most concerns.
Civic society secretary Sally Smith said a consultation roadshow took place in King's Lynn two weeks ago.
'It was held on a bus within which Norfolk County Council officers conducted the consultation,' she said. 'Neither the bus nor the display boards outside bore any mention of the ferry, and so it appeared that the consultation was entirely concerned with bus services, thus people who wished to make their views on the ferry known remained unaware that this was the place to do so.
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'People we have asked all said that they thought the roadshow was for bus services; they had not understood that the ferry was included.'
Ms Smith said the consultation name and summary on the NCC website was confined to bus services and made no mention of the ferry either.
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'We object to the proposal to axe the ferry's present subsidy,' she added.
'It is our contention that not only should the subsidy be continued at its present level, but that it should be promoted as an important and viable transport service for the town of King's Lynn and the surrounding area.'
Norfolk County Council said the consultation had been widely publicised and people could have their say until the end of the month by going to its website.
Gail and Steve Kingston, who run the ferry, have pledged to continue the service if the �25,000 a year subsidy is withdrawn.
The civic society believes the frequent service helps reduce the amount of traffic using King's Lynn's narrow streets. 'There is frequent congestion, especially at the busiest periods of the day and it takes only a minor traffic hold-up to cause complete gridlock,' said Ms Smith.
'Any alternative form of transport which reduces vehicular traffic is important and ideally measures would be taken to further reduce traffic, not exacerbate the situation.'
Ms Smith said the society was asking the county council to reconsider the proposal and to take into account the far wider consideration of traffic and congestion in King's Lynn.
The ferry runs across the River Ouse from West Lynn to Ferry Street, off Lynn's King Street, at all states of the tide.
Hundreds of commuters catch the boat each day, instead of driving around the long way and paying to park in the town centre.