New Liverpool ferry terminal delayed

Tuesday 26th November 2019 10:13 am

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New Liverpool ferry terminal, pictures supplied by architects The Manser Practice

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The completion date for the new £38m Liverpool landing stage for Isle of Man ferries has been delayed.

In the summer, the completion date for the ferry terminal was given as February 2021, but that has been put back to July of that year.

However, Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer said he was hoping it would be ready for the TT, which gets under way at the end of May.

The delay was due to the discharge of planning conditions and some legal agreements taking ’longer than anticipated’, he said.

It was also revealed that dredging is required for the project.

The Minister told Tynwald: ’We are now looking at a completion date of no later than July 21, 2021, but we are still pushing for operating the ferry services for the TT 2021 season.’

It is another blow to the project after, earlier this year, it was revealed the cost to Manx taxpayers was set to spiral to more than £38m.

Back in 2015, the Steam Packet said Peel Ports would invest £15m in a replacement facility for the ageing Pier Head terminal - but would require a long-term financial commitment from the ferry operator.

But then the government got involved and the Manx taxpayer is now footing the entire bill.

A site was bought at Princes Half-Tide Dock to allow for the building of a new Isle of Man ferry terminal.

A 2016 report to Tynwald estimated the total cost would be in the region of £25m.

In the 2018 Budget the cost was put at £30.5m and now the total cost is estimated at just over £38m.

When completed, the new landing stage will be capable of taking any vessels up to a limit of 142m in length.

The move down river will also allow winter sailings to Liverpool rather than Birkenhead, the Steam Packet says.

Mr Harmer insisted a ’number of key actions’ had been completed since funding was approved in July this year, including the appointment of a main contractor.

All pre-commencement planning conditions had been discharged, he said, adding that the end result would be a ’fantastic’ facility that ’will be here for 243 years or so’.

He said that dredging would be required as well as infilling of the old dock and the terminal itself is just a small element of the cost.

A spokesman for his department said: ’The ferry terminal site must be dredged to create the required depth for the new berth.

’This activity is necessary as the former dock entrance has silted up due to lack of use over a number of years.

’It is is normal practice at the beginning of such a scheme. Once the project is completed, maintenance dredging will be carried out by the Harbour Authority, as is the case for the current facility at Pier Head.’

He added that the new access road and bridge to the terminal are being funded by Liverpool City Council.

In Tynwald, Tim Crookall MLC expressed concern that access to the current landing stage was due to end in March 2021.

Mr Harmer said: ’In terms of the existing facility, obviously that has been delayed as well so there is more time in respect of that.’

Peel Ports has confirmed to the Manx Independent that the Steam Packet can continue to use the current existing landing stage in 2020 and 2021 until the new government berth is completed.

Kate Costain (Douglas South MHK) asked if there were likely to be any further increases to the projected cost.

Mr Harmer said that contingency funding had been put in place in case of any further costs but added: ’At this point I am not aware of any requirement to use that contingency funding.

’Obviously, as the project progresses, there may be a need.’

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