Hovercraft bid deflated by planners

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TRANSPORT giant Stagecoach has pulled the plug on plans to introduce a hovercraft service linking Edinburgh and Fife after planners rejected its bid to build a passenger waiting room at Portobello.

The bus company had its application for consent to build the facilities next to Seafield Road East, which were also to include a hovercraft slipway, pedestrian ramp and car park, rejected amid concerns about the visual impact, as well as fears over excessive noise.

Stagecoach boss Brian Souter has attacked the decision, saying it has left him “completely scunnered”. Only last month, the Perth-based firm had pledged to “re-appraise” the business case for a hovercraft linking Portobello and Kirkcaldy if it was awarded planning permission for facilities at both ends of the Forth. Fife Council granted consent but councillors in Edinburgh went against the recommendation of planning officials and rejected the proposal – leading to the company today announcing it has abandoned the scheme, despite more than 30,000 people using the service during a pilot scheme four years ago.

Mr Souter said: “This has been a long and painful process. We are completely scunnered and have no intention of appealing against the planning decision.”

The hovercraft link would have had a journey time of less than 20 minutes, as well as being integrated with bus services on both sides of the Forth.