Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

What’s wrong with the Forth hovercraft planning refusal?

Ship wreckI tend to stay away from council related stories nowadays. Too many look more like mindless ‘council-bashing’ than reasoned analysis – and I found myself falling into that very trap once, and decided to walk away unless something really didn’t stack.

The story of Edinburgh City Council’s refusal of planning permission for a project to introduce a hovercraft service to the Forth seems to be odd enough for me to risk breaking cover, and mentioning.

The service would connect Kirkcaldy and Portobello, and we noted the testing carried out back in 2008: Forth hovercraft could be floating away, when it was reported that a trial service operated in 2007 had attracted some 32,000 passengers, and near complete approval rendering it “an unqualified success”.

Despite this, and the fact that permission for a terminal at Fife has been granted, Edinburgh’s council has torpedoed the project.

Even stranger is the report of continued wide support from potential users for the service, that Fife councillors have been prepared to criticise the Edinburgh councillors’ decision, and that the support transport partnership SEStran (South East Scotland Transport Partnership, Travel Planning & Strategy) was also snubbed.

The project has, or had, been actively pursued for at least four years (since 2007 but would no doubt have been conceived earlier), but unless something surprising happens, is now dead, as the company behind the service has post patience, and said there will not be an appeal:

Stagecoach Group chief executive Sir Brian Souter said: “This has been a long and painful process. We are completely scunnered and have no intention of appealing against the planning decision.”

Instead:

Stagecoach said it continues to support a proposed passenger ferry between Burntisland, Fife and Granton, Edinburgh. Stagecoach said it was prepared to put £7m into the project in a joint venture with Bland Group.

BBC News – Council ‘kills off’ hovercraft plan for Firth of Forth

Souter ‘scunnered’ as council rejects Forth hovercraft plan | Edinburgh and East | STV News

(The pic’s a shipwreck – royalty free pics of wrecked hovercraft are as easy to find as hen’s teeth!)

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December 10, 2011 - Posted by | Civilian, council, Transport | , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Hovercraft are very noisy, if the site proposed was at the site where the experimental service left from I do not blame the council. A site further west among the non-residential industrial area of Seafield would have been more acceptable.
    Remember Hovercraft are essentially aircraft, the flats nearest the site would have been severely affected, like living in a flat sited right next to Edinburgh airport’s runways or taxiways!
    The Firth of Forth is fairly exposed and the service would be very vulnerable to severe weather disruption, I don’t think there would have been a very reliable service this week for instance.

    Like

    Comment by JG | December 14, 2011


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