North East Wales

Duke of Lancaster ship, docked at Mostyn, restoration call

An aerial view of the Duke of Lancaster at Mostyn, Flintshire
Image caption The Duke of Lancaster ship was put into a dry dock at Mostyn in 1979

A preservation society is leading calls to restore a local landmark, a ship that has been docked on the banks of Flintshire's Dee estuary for 33 years.

A new campaign enlisting support for the Duke of Lancaster at Mostyn, has attracted more than 800 supporters.

Co-owner John Rowley said talks with Flintshire council had come to nothing.

There were plans to use the ship for scenes in a movie starring Brad Pitt last year but they did not come to fruition.

The ship was put in dry dock in 1979 and renamed the Fun Ship as an entertainment venue with a bar and market stalls, before being closed.

The Duke of Lancaster Appreciation Society is calling for the ship to be restored and preserved, ideally as a hotel.

Mr Rowley, now based in Romania, said he was interested in alternative uses for the ship but was critical of Flintshire council, saying no progress had been made despite negotiations on two separate occasions in the past couple of years.

He said the council had blocked regeneration plans for the area amid concern over possible flooding issues as well as the suitability of the access road for emergency service vehicles.

"We are interested to consider alternative uses but the council are very obstructive in what they stipulate," he said.

A Flintshire council spokesman said: "We have been seeking to explore options for the site with the owner but there are no present proposals."

It was reported last year that there were plans to shoot scenes from a zombie movie, World War Z - starring Hollywood actor Pitt - aboard the ship but nothing materialised.

'Former glory'

According to enthusiasts, the ship ferried passengers between Heysham to Belfast in the 50s and 60s before being converted into a car ferry.

In 1975 it was used briefly on the Fishguard-Rosslare ferry service before running between Holyhead and Dun Laoghaire until it was retired in 1978.

A year later it was docked at its present location a short walk off the A548 Flint-Prestatyn coast road near a market run by the ship's owners.

Ashley Gardner, of the Duke of Lancaster Appreciation Society, said: "It's looking a little sorry for itself at the moment.

"We're hoping to raise awareness about the ship. We are going to have to do something with her.

"She deserves to be brought back to her former glory. Ideally, it would be wonderful if we could make her into a hotel.

"She does need a lot of work doing to her. We have got to make the ship famous and make people aware of her and what we are doing."

She said she did not expect the ship to sail again.

Image caption The ship had been used on ferry services

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