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Hover plans ‘progressing’

Picture Martin Bostock
Pete Walton of Walton's Coaches, Freckleton with the hovercraft he plans to provide services to Southport.

Picture Martin Bostock Pete Walton of Walton's Coaches, Freckleton with the hovercraft he plans to provide services to Southport.

The man behind a £10m hovercraft link plan says he is keeping his “fingers crossed” progress can be made soon.

Freckleton-based Hovercraft Services UK hopes to begin running a service between Blackpool, Barrow-in-Furness, Southport and Liverpool - creating dozens of new jobs in the process.

However, the company is currently waiting to receive the green light from environmental organisation Natural England to proceed with the project.

Pete Walton, owner of Walton’s Coaches, of which Hovercraft Servies UK is a subsidiary, said: “We’re still working with Natural England and waiting for them to say yay or nay.

“We can’t do anything until that happens.

“We’re making sure the relevant bodies are doing what they have to do.

“The last thing we want to do is start without that in place.

“We’re keeping our fingers crossed hoping it won’t be too long before they come up with the answers that we want.”

Last week The Gazette reported rival Wirral-based firm Hoverlink had shelved plans to run a trial service between the resort and other destinations this summer after being unable to get the relevant licences in time.

Should it get the go ahead, Hovercraft Services plans to have the vehicle’s main terminal in Blackpool in a location that will mix well with the town’s existing public transport systems.

It said 30 of the jobs created will be in the resort and there are plans to create apprenticeships in connection with local colleges.

The plans, which promise reductions in journey times of up to 70 per cent, would see a trip from Blackpool to Southport take a mere 15 minutes.

 

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