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Hover from Southport to Blackpool in 15 minutes.

Byline: BY GRAHAM DAVIES

HOVERCRAFT service which will transport people between Southport and Blackpool in less than 15 minutes is to be launched next month.

Councillors in the Lancashire resort have approved plans for the service which will see people paying pounds 10 for a round trip.

It is hoped the hovercraft will have major tourism benefits for both resorts and increase numbers at events such as the Southport Flower Show.

Conservative councillor Tony Brough, Sefton's spokesman for tourism, said last night: 'If it is viable, it will be a very welcome attraction to the town.

'Southport's programme of events is quite extensive and is expanding. This would provide a direct link with a significant airport, and therefore it enhances the offer we can make on our events.

'It also provides an opportunity for people from Blackpool to make a trip to Southport and vice versa. We have many visitors to Southport who, as part of a touring holiday, wish to visit Blackpool for a day as well. The hovercraft would allow them to do that conveniently.

'It takes what is now a less than direct route and turns it into a direct one into Southport

Pete Walton, of Walton's Coaches in Freckleton, submitted the plans to Blackpool council, and hopes passengers will be boarding the craft by May.

He said: 'We want to get it up and running as quickly as possible and we're already getting lots of support for the scheme.

'I've had people getting in touch with me who are flying visitors into Blackpool for the Southport Flower Show in August and they want to be able to transfer them over to Southport using our hovercraft Mr Walton added that he would eventually like to link Southport with Lytham St Annes.

Judy Haselhurst, marketing manager for the Southport Flower Show, which this year is being run in association with the Daily Post, said she hoped to make special offers to people travelling to the event by hovercraft.

She added: 'With flights coming into Blackpool now, we could see people coming to the flower show from any part of the country.

'At the moment, a journey from Blackpool to Southport takes quite a long time, especially in the summer traffic. Something like this would mean people could get here cheaply and quickly.'

On Monday, Blackpool council's development control committee, approved the use of land for the hovercraft, which planners say would be a 'sustainable means of transport

Trip will lop 30 minutes off journey time

THE 16-seat craft would carry 12 passengers.

IT will make a one-way journey in less than 15 minutes, travelling at around 38mph.

A JOURNEY from Blackpool to Southport by road would normally take around 45 minutes.

THE last hovercraft service between the two resorts was in place in the early 1990s

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Pete Walton with the hovercraft
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Apr 28, 2005
Words:475
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