THE Sandbanks Ferry ticket price increase could have a 'detrimental effect' on Studland businesses, the chairman of the parish council fears.

New ticket prices for the ferry have been approved by a government inspector following a public inquiry held earlier in the year.

What this means initially, is that from May 17 the cost of travelling on the chain ferry will rise for cars, coaches, goods vehicles and lorries.

These rises are not considerable, just 25p for cars and goods vehicles less than 3,500 kilograms, and 50p for lorries and vehicles carrying 16 or more people.

However, prices will rise by small annual increases for 12 years, with prices set to rise by £1 for cars in six years time.

Studland Parish Council chairman Nick Boulter, who was opposed to the price increases, told the Daily Echo: "All the major businesses in Studland were opposed the fare increases, because it is going to make it more difficult for them to retain staff.

"A lot of their staff come from Bournemouth or Poole.

"Businesses are worried it may put people from Bournemouth and Poole coming across, as it is just an extra cost.

"So we are worried about the detrimental effect on businesses locally and jobs.

"This will put more cars on the road, people will be driving the long way around.

"We still think that the 12 year forecast is unsustainable."

The councillor also said that when the parish council held a survey on the ferry ticket price issue in December, just ten per cent of those villagers who took part said they would continue to use the ferry as they had before if the increased tolls were introduced.

Read more: Sandbanks Ferry toll hike backed by government inspector

Meanwhile, Dorset Council's Swanage ward member, and Swanage Town Council representative Cllr Gary Suttle said: "Obviously fought against it, but this was the second time we were asking the ferry company to freeze prices.

"The 25 pence is relatively modest though."

On the ferry company freezing ticket prices for pedestrians and cyclists, Cllr Suttle said: "The fact is if you live in Swanage and work in Bournemouth you are most likely crossing on the ferry with a car.

"It is a wonderful idea that someone is going to get up early and cycle, but the reality is, it is cars and it is going to cost more money - and whether that will push people to drive around our already congested roads, I don't know?

"However, despite what a lot of people think the ferry company has spent millions repairing it and keeping it on track.

"So it is very difficult, I understand each point of view, but, obviously, as councillors, we fought against the rise to make it as reasonable as possible for local people."

When the Daily Echo spoke to drivers using the service, motorist Peter Cheriton said: "The increase is only a small one, but I guess you could argue it is already quite expensive to cross what is a relatively short body of water.

"But it must cost a bit to keep the ferry operating though.

"We are just visiting, so its quite exciting to have a ferry crossing like this, so I wouldn't mind paying a little extra at all.

"I suppose I may have a different opinion if I had to use it more frequently though."

Speaking after the price rise was backed by the inspector, Jason du Toit, general manager of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, said: "We are pleased that after much consultation and a public inquiry, our application has been approved."