Skegness’s ‘negative’ reaction to proposals for a cross-Wash ferry could be the biggest barrier to the project’s success, its operator has warned.
William Searle, who completed the first Hunstanton to Skegness crossing in more than a century last month, has been ‘disappointed’ with the resort’s response so far.
Whereas more than 1,100 Hunstanton residents have expressed an interest in using the service if it becomes a regular feature in 2014, the reaction this side of the Wash has been ‘nowhere near that’.
“I was very pleased with the response we got when we came over but I would like to see it matched by bums on seats,” said Mr Searle.
“It would be nice to see some more enthusiasm from people other than the council.
“It’s an expensive thing to do and we need people to show they’re interested - words are not enough when it comes to financial matters.”
Mr Searle hopes to gather ‘concrete’ expressions of interest to justify his investment in the scheme and to help him secure further sponsorship so that fare prices can be cut.
But having seen negative reactions to the predicted costs of fares - between £25 and £45 return - he fears there will be insufficient uptake on the Skegness end to make it worth his while.
“It would be nice to have more confidence that people would use it,” he said.
Coun Carl Macey, who first suggested the venture at a Skegness Town Council meeting back in April, believes the negative response is not a true reflection of local opinion.
“The negative comments that have been made on certain social networking sites seem to have come from the usual suspects,” he said.
“I’ve spoken to lots of people who really love the idea.”
Coun Macey has also pointed out that many of the service’s likely users may be holidaymakers rather than residents of the town.
Like Mr Searle, however, he would like those who are interested to email their support for the project.
If sufficient interest and sponsorship can be gathered, Searles hopes to run regular crossings between the two resorts from next season.
Coach routes could also be set up to return passengers, should the weather make crossings too difficult.
Searles is considering a number of vessels for the crossing, the quickest of which takes less than an hour.
Email your interest to: email@example.com.