UPDATE: Search for Hovercraft landing site in Rhyl underway


Suzanne Jordan

A HOVERCRAFT operator is looking for a landing site in Rhyl after being granted a draft licence to operate a service between the seaside town and Merseyside.

Hoverlink Ltd are said to be in final talks with Denbighshire County Council for the landing rights at Rhyl and Prestatyn, which are set to be signed off in two weeks.

A landing location has been identified central to the beach in Rhyl and a terminal building for passengers is be devised after the acquisition of a full licence and a completed trial period.

“We can’t go into details of the landing location yet until the finalisation of the licence but it will be prominent on the front,” Mr Clitheroe said.

“We would like to provide transport links in this location for the long-term. When we get to this point, we will devise a permanent terminal – it may have a cafe, seating, a food area - it is very much down to what the public would like to see.”

Mr Clitheroe has been acting crew member for New Brighton RNLI for the past nine years and is part of a team which operates a search and rescue hovercraft.

The 44-year-old, who is married to Julie, said when the company was granted a full licence, a start date would be confirmed.

“The next step is to finalise the licence and sign allowing the ability to release the funds required to purchase a hovercraft,” he added.

“We hope that start of the service will be this year - or at the latest, early 2015.”
Chris Ruane, MP for the Vale of Clwyd, said he is delighted that the project has gained “loads of legs” after he expressed an interest in reviving the passenger service in the House of Commons last year.

He said: “Simon has shown he has faith in the town, but we need to move rapidly now. This is about opening up the whole of the Vale of Clwyd and showcasing all our attractions.

“It is hoped that tourists will land on the top of the high street, between the sun centre and the events arena.”

Ann Jones, AM for Vale of Clwyd, added that she was very much looking forward to seeing a hoverlink serving the town after an absence of more than fifty years.

In 1962, Rhyl was the first in the world to offer a hovercraft passenger service that journeyed to the Wirral. The service only operated briefly after the craft was wrecked in a storm.

A spokesperson from Denbighshire County Council added: “We have granted both Airspeed Hovercraft Solutions Ltd and Hoverlink a draft licence.

“We are working with the operators who are planning to bring hovercraft services to Rhyl to sort out the detailed arrangements for arrivals and departures.”

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