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Cornwall Council Cabinet approves extra £5 Million

posted Mar 17, 2011, 9:01 PM by Richard Cliffe

Cornishman Online 16 Mar 2011 (www.thisiscornwall.co.uk).

“Cornwall Council’s Cabinet unanimously approved an extra £5 million in loan funding for the Isles of Scilly Sea Link yesterday in a last-ditch bid to keep the scheme afloat…….. Cornwall Council now says a decision must be made by the end of this month to avoid increased costs and a delay in the project until 2012.

The item quotes the FofPzH spokesman as saying “the  council's decision to press on with the Route Partnership scheme ignored alternative proposals which are estimated to produce almost £25 million of savings”.

Click here for full item.

 

Comment.

The alternative proposals referred to be FofPzH are Option Pz +, a scheme rolled out by Andrew George MP on 3 Mar 2010 and subsequently amended to include, most recently, IOSSC’s recent fall-back vessel proposal should the Route Partnership project not be funded.  Option Pz + is a slap in the  face to Islanders as the fall back proposal offers no hope of a winter service and represents a lesser service than the Scillonian III offers today given that the replacement ferry is significantly smaller (~320 pax), expected to have a more uncomfortable ride, and slower crossing (>3 hours).  The proposed fall back ferry is based on a modified super yacht design so will grace the harbours.  As the vessel was designed for a short Denmark-Sweden crossing over relatively sheltered waters it may spend significantly more time in the harbours than the Scillonian.

The IOSSOC fall back proposals would require a very high level of borrowing from commercial lenders which it is difficult to see how it could sustain given the likely reduced revenues from running a smaller vessel likely to be more prone to weather cancellation than the current vessel.  Would this solution risk a Government bail out in the future?

 The extra £5 million of prudential borrowing does not have an impact on front line services (as suggested by FofPH) because it is funded from the charter fee for the new vessel which is already a known value.  The increase does adversely affect the size of the vessel replacement fund Cornwall Council wanted to build up to avoid the need to ask for another Government grant in 25+ years time.

 


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