Trial bid for resort hovercraft service

Hovercrafts could soon be a common site in Blackpool
Hovercrafts could soon be a common site in Blackpool
Have your say

Plans for a new hovercraft service connecting Blackpool to Liverpool and North Wales could be trialled as early as this summer, the firm proposing to run it has claimed.

Wirral-based company Hoverlink says it hopes to try out routes between a number of destinations, including Blackpool, in July, if it can drum up the required £75,000 investment in time.

Bosses hope the trial will establish which routes would be viable, with the aim of the service being set up on a permanent basis from 2015.

Hoverlink director, Simon Clitheroe, says there has been an “exceptional” level of interest in the scheme, while one community leader today said the idea could provide a tourism boost for the resort.

Mr Clitheroe said: “It’s in the planning stage so we can’t say for definite it’s going to happen, but we’re trying our best.

“We have identified a craft and a trial service we could do this year.

“We need to know from which of the locations people would want to come to and where they’d want to go.”

A number of potential destinations which would link to Blackpool have been identified including Liverpool and Southport, as well as Rhyl and Prestatyn on the North Wales coast.

The company estimates the total to buy the hovercraft and obtain the relevant licenses to run the service will be £150,000 - half of which has so far been raised.

Setting up the service on a permanent basis would cost up to £1m.

Mr Clitheroe added: “The level of support we’ve got from people who would use the service has been exceptional, they are trying to help us.”

Coun Christ Cox, who represents Squires Gate on Blackpool Council, has recently met with Hoverlink and has praised the plans. He said: “It could be a really good new transport link because the North West is not very well linked by rail and road, and it would be a direct route.

“It could open up Blackpool as a destination for more tourists.”

The Gazette first reported plans for the Hoverlink venture in December - at the same time as Freckleton firm Walton’s Coaches revealed its own early £10m plan for a hovercraft link with Southport.