Wyre Council to decide on new deal for Knott End ferry service

The Fleetwood Knott End Ferry
The Fleetwood Knott End Ferry

Mystery surrounds a secret meeting about the future of the Knott End to Fleetwood ferry.

Wyre Council’s cabinet is likely to go into private session to discuss the troubled ferry service which is due to start sailing under a new contract and new funding regime next month.

Previously the ferry service was supported financially by both Wyre and the county council, but the county has now pulled out of future funding - leaving Wyre as the only subsidiser of the service (though only for the first four years of an eight year contract).

Several months ago Wyre advertised for a new operator, with the deadline for any company wishing to take on the contract being January 23.

Under the intended new deal the current ferryboat, Wyre Rose, would be given to the new operator.

Details of how many would-be operators had contacted Wyre with a view to becoming the new operator have not been revealed.

There has been speculation that as many as four tenders / expressions of interest were made. It is understood those bids have been under scrutiny by Wyre officials for the past two months.

Linked to the ferry issue, there has also been speculation in Knott End about the amount of work any new contractor will have to do to sort out the on-going silting problem at Knott End ferry slipway.

A prominent local businessman told The Courier the silting problems, which cause problems for the ferryboat pulling up next to the concrete jetty, was frequently a problem at Knott End, especially at low tide.

Wyre Council was approached with several questions on these issues, including how many bidders there were for the ferry contact, a request for confirmation that Wyre would be giving funding to the service for four years and details of the “gifting” of the ferry to the new operator

The council said the questions would be treated as a Freedom of Information / Environmental Information Request and would be responded to within 20 working days.

The council spokesman said the meeting was not likely to be open to the public because “exempt” information would be disclosed.

The exempt information is thought likely to refer to either the financial details of the would-be ferry operators and / or the council’s financial affairs.