The Deep boss has said plans for an adjacent £72million cruise terminal would be “unfeasible”.
The proposed terminal is supported by Hull City Council as a means of enhancing the city’s appeal as a tourist destination. Next week, advisers to the firm are expected to confirm Associated British Ports as the consultancy’s preferred operating partner for the project.
However, the current prime location for a riverside berth next to The Deep remains a sticking point. Patrons of the city’s most popular attraction first listed a series of concerns about the idea in 2018.
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Now Chief Executive Katy Duke has reiterated those concerns. She also confirmed that The Deep remained opposed to the plans. She said: “While The Deep fully supports developments in the town to increase tourism and boost the economy, The Deep – an independent and self-governing charity – remains opposed to potential cruise terminal projects at this site.
A full list of concerns was delivered to Hull City Council in November 2018 and to date many remain unaddressed, including the most significant concerns regarding animal welfare impacts at The Deep.
“As such, the project remains unworkable alongside The Deep’s operations at this site. The noise and vibration study commissioned by the council was inconclusive as to the potential effect on animals. during the construction and operation of a cruise terminal.
“The Deep’s concerns are echoed by experts in the aquarium, zoo and veterinary community around the world.
“Planned drawings of the cruise terminal show that access would be required through The Deep’s private car park for cruise terminal operations such as service vehicles and a large number of coaches taking passengers to areas of the Yorkshire As an organization that welcomes 460,000 visitors to the city each year, The Deep car park is already operating at capacity.
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“Accessible and family-friendly parking is essential for The Deep to facilitate safe visits for its diverse audiences without the need to travel excessive distances. This level of disruption on The Deep property would raise concerns security and operational issues for The Deep and its customers.
“The Deep is of the view that the operability of the cruise terminal above The Deep’s operations is not viable at this site. An alternative site of greater capacity and remote from other businesses and unhindered by small access roads would benefit a Cruise Terminal.”
Next week’s cabinet report on the cruise terminal identifies the potential conflict with The Deep as one of the major risks to the project. Others include the post-Covid recovery of the cruise ship market, the site of the scheduled ancient monument of the South Blockhouse which currently sits under a coach parking area on council-owned land and the potential impact on residents living on Victoria Dock.
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It says further engagement is expected with affected organizations and residents as part of the eventual planning process, with separate approvals required for the land and river elements of the project. The current design includes a bridge being built to connect the shore to three floating pontoons in the Humber where ships carrying nearly 2,000 passengers could dock.
The proposals also include the construction of a ship-to-shore power station and a terminal. According to the plans, the council would be responsible for all new infrastructure.