A steaming shame

What a shame that the Balmoral steamer is not going to be calling at Ilfracombe harbour for 2013, because of last year’s poor weather.

My family have enjoyed many a sail on her over the years.

The Ilfracombe town and North Devon district councils must urgently write to the owners of the Balmoral and try and get a change of heart and mind on their decision.

The impact on the holiday trade and business will be great. Maybe the town council should be supporting the Balmoral financially instead of committing the Ilfracombe council tax payers to vast unknown sums of money on the Neighbourhood Community Budgets project/localism scheme.

It will be a shame to deprive the people of Wales and the Bristol Channel ports the chance to sail into Ilfracombe and see the Verity statue – or was Verity the real reason that Balmoral cancelled this year’s sailings?

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I can take or leave Verity – it’s the cost of cleaning, lighting, insurance and maintenance that falls on Ilfracombe council tax payers that concerns me.

There should have been a vote for Ilfracombe people – those in favour should be made to pick up the Verity costs bill, not the struggling council tax payers of Ilfracombe.

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The owners of the Balmoral don’t seem to share the opinion of Ilfracombe councillors that Verity will bring thousands of visitors to see the statue.

I can’t see them turning down the chance of a new money-earner.

One thing’s for certain – the dream of some councillors for a foot-ferry to Wales looks like it’s dead in the water. If Balmoral can’t make it pay because of the weather, then a ferry can’t either.

GR Parkhouse


Editor’s note: The cost of maintaining and cleaning Verity will be met by contractors paid for by Damien Hirst’s company.

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