HC Deb 05 July 1939 vol 349 cc1328-9W
Miss Wilkinson

asked the Minister of Transport whether he has been informed that the Hebburn ferry is definitely to cease at a very early date; if he is aware that, as this ferry carries over 1,500,000 passengers per year, its closing will add to the burden on the already inadequate and dangerously overloaded Jarrow ferry; and whether, in view of the inconvenience and loss both to traders and workers caused by the present condition of mid-Tyne crossings, he will state what steps he proposes to take in the immediate future to deal with the situation?

Captain Wallace

I had previously been informed by Messrs. Hawthorn Leslie Company, the owners of the Hebburn-Wallsend ferry, that they proposed to discontinue the service after the 30th June, but I now understand that they have decided to continue it for a further three months.

I understand that the ferry was started by the firm many years ago for the convenience of their own workpeople and that there has been a gradual extension of its use by the employés of other firms on Tyneside.

As the ferry is privately owned I have no power to make grants towards this service; but even if the ferry were acquired by a highway authority and were freed from tolls, I should not be in a position to make a grant since it is a pedestrian ferry with no through traffic value.

I have brought the matter to the notice of the Tyneside local authorities; but I understand that those authorities, after conference with the firms interested, have not seen their way to assume any responsibility for the continued maintenance of the ferry.

The only possibility of securing the continued operation of this ferry appears to be that the firms whose workmen habitually use the ferry should collaborate amongst themselves to keep it going.