Cruise ships and yachts: the £1.1m harbour plan
Last updated at 11:20, Thursday, 23 August 2012
WHITEHAVEN could have a direct link with Liverpool in the hope of bringing cruise ships into the town.
An extra 140 berths for leisure craft are also on the cards. A full marina and visiting cruise liner passenger numbers could add substantially to the estimated £.1.4 million a year currently brought into the local economy from harbour use.
The potential Liverpool link was revealed to The Whitehaven News yesterday by West Cumbria’s tourism manager Katie Read, who says the proposed developments are exactly what tourism in the west of the county is about.
The near £1.1 million harbour scheme is part of Britain’s Energy Coast’s investment programme unveiled this week to help revive tourism and business in West Cumbria. Other schemes to win Energy Coast backing include a new office development at Westlakes Science Park (£2.2 million) and £1.1 million towards Rosehill Theatre’s planned £4.5 million revamp (see page four).
In Whitehaven, a lot of extra cash is predicted not only for the port but also flowing into the local economy through a big influx of cruise ship passengers. It is hoped the town will become a popular port of call for cruise liners along with lots more leisure sailors.
Katie Read said yesterday: “There is a real potential to link in well with Liverpool’s cruise ship terminal facility and provide another form of direct access to the Lake District and Cumbria, for visitors wishing to explore this beautiful part of the world.
“This type of strategic tourism project is exactly what West Cumbria Tourism is about.”
Whitehaven will become a designated port for cruises with its own dedicated liner “taxi terminal” for passengers to clear stricter security rules as they arrive and leave. It would also figure in cruise ship promotions as an area to visit.
Whitehaven Harbour Commissioners have been awarded £365,000 towards the £1.1 million scheme from Britain’s Energy Coast via Nuclear Management Partners. Other funding to pay for the improvements, including the 140 extra berths and office accommodation, will come from the Harbour Commissioners themselves (£280,000); Copeland Community Fund (£185,000 plus a £185,000 loan); and the European Fisheries Fund Axis 4 (£65,000).
It is expected that the new berths – mainly in south harbour (next to The Beacon) – will bring in another £200,000 a year on top of the present £600,000 annual income boost from the existing 285 berths and fishing vessels.
Harbour Commissioners chief executive Celia MacKenzie said: “It’s great news for Whitehaven, Copeland and West Cumbria. All this is a serious confidence-giver – it raises the profile of the whole area, and in the present economic climate we are probably one of the luckiest areas in the UK, without a shadow of a doubt.
“Realistically we’re not going to see a raft of cruise ships on their way all of a sudden, but with West Cumbria Tourism Partnership and Cumbria Tourism the idea would be to actively market Whitehaven to get on the itineraries of the cruise companies.
“We have to be looking at smaller vessels carrying maybe 800 to 1,000 passengers – the type that do week-long cruises around Scotland, Ireland and the Isle of Man, which is wonderful cruising and hopefully will make Whitehaven a very attractive calling point. This is what we will major on.”
But making Whitehaven a dedicated secure landing terminal will attract ships bringing holidaymakers from Europe and other parts of the world.
The new leisure craft berths will be provided in a few months depending on how soon the Copeland Community Fund confirms its contribution.
Mrs MacKenzie said: “The cruise ship taxi terminal will be put on the Lime Tongue where passengers will alight, go through the security protocol and then be free to go into Whitehaven or take excursions elsewhere.
“We will provide a dedicated permanent facility so the cruise companies can consider us as an access point to the Lake District as a whole.”
A temporary secure landing terminal costs £6,000 a time.
Mrs MacKenzie said: “Workington can take cruise vessels, also Barrow, but they’re are not as beautiful as Whitehaven. Ideally we want to be able to offer enough to keep passengers and other visitors here in West Cumbria spending their pounds.
“Cruise companies tend to put their routes together two seasons before, so having the permanent facilities to promote Whitehaven as a tender port we hope in two or three years time to see more cruise vessels coming throughout the summer season.
“These are going to be the smaller ships, purely because the Irish Sea is quite shallow and the closest they can get to Whitehaven is about half a mile off port, but the feedback we’ve had in the past is that it really is a lovely port which people love to visit.
“All ports have to comply with UK government security, particularly in light of terrorism, so for vessels visiting from foreign shores there is a security protocol which all passengers have to go through both coming into and leaving a port, a bit like an airline terminal.”
On the 140 extra berths, she said: “These will create the capacity to provide space for visiting vessels. Presently Whitehaven harbour has 285 berths with around 80 per cent occupancy at any given time but we have a waiting list for craft up to 12 metres. If we provide the facilities this leisure industry requires, then our reputation will go before us.
“Whitehaven Marina Ltd, which operates that side of things for us, are part of a group operating throughout Western Europe enabling boats to move from marina to marina getting discounted prices. What we’re hoping is to entice more visitors to come here buying fuel and provisions, going to local shops and restaurants.
“To date we calculate the business has been worth about £1.4million a year for the local community – the kind of money which should give people a lot of confidence that we’re doing our best in this difficult economic climate.
“Even though we’re in recession, Whitehaven is benefiting from leisure vessels moving from more expensive berthing down on the south coast to Wales, with more Welsh boats coming to us.
“What we want is to provide more high-quality, secure and well-serviced accommodation to welcome new vessels from other parts of the country.”
Fishing boats would not be affected by the changes.
First published at 11:08, Thursday, 23 August 2012
Published by http://www.whitehavennews.co.uk
Have your say
Here we go again about investing in the harbour, why cant we invest in the entire town we are at the brink of losing even more shops on top of the 13/14 already closed in king streat alone but yet they think the harbour will save us, someone mentioned about the last cruise liner passengers spending money in our pound shops, as i recall there was about five buses waiting to ship most of them out of the town. As to Chris's comment about what the harbour used to look like: yes i do very very clearly it was a thriving fishing port maybe not pleasent on the eyes but it was always full, now you are lucky to get any other fishing vessels apart from locals (which we dont have many left)coming and selling their catch due to the HARBOUR putting up the fees to use the town so they come in our waters catch all the fish and take it 90+ miles to sell it elsewhere. As for the extra berths well that is another bug bare of mine, why dont they encourage locals to use the marina more, many many boats have been taken out due to fees being raised on a yearly basis, allow a reduction to locals encourage them to sail in the area. Rant over not everything should be about the harbour it wont save the town.
As per usual all the money gets spent on good old Whitehaven and forget every other village and town in Copeland, my god Copeland council are so narrow minded Whitehaven Whitehaven Whitehaven why dont we move the council offices to Millom then may be the money will be spent on this town instead of apparently the center of the known universe
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