A FORMER councillor has called for Boscombe Pier to be privatised to allow it to be brought up to the standard required for use by water buses.

Phil Stanley-Watts said the move would bring in the investment and expertise required to introduce a service.

The suggestion came after the BCP Council cabinet member for transport, councillor Andy Hadley, said he was "keen" to look at water buses as a way of reducing congestion across the conurbation.

Mr Stanley-Watts, a former Bournemouth Conservative councillor, raised the topic at this month's meeting of the council, saying the coast could provide an alternative to land transport.

In response, Cllr Hadley said he was willing to look at the feasibility of a service between Poole Quay and Bournemouth and Boscombe piers.

“I have been involved in previous attempts to consider water buses for wider use across the area and it is certainly a resource we don’t make full use of,” he said.

“To run a year-round service along our coastline without a sheltered place to dock in Bournemouth or Boscombe would be challenging.

“But ferries do frequently run during the summer between Swanage Pier and Poole Quay and it would be great to get them running to Boscombe and Bournemouth piers again.”

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Stanley-Watts said he welcomed Cllr Hadley’s willingness to explore a service but said Boscombe Pier would be particularly difficult to use.

He said it was unlikely the council had either the expertise or funding to hand to improve the structure to the degree required for its use by boats.

“It has been a popular suggestion but I think the council will need to use a bit of common sense in bringing it forward,” he said.

“Cllr Hadley talked about services running to the two piers but the landing stages were taken away at Boscombe for the surf reef.

“I think the best thing is to privatise Boscombe Pier and give it to a shipping company which will have more money to invest in the infrastructure needed to bring boats in.”