Warship plans for Humber hit the rocks

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PLANS to bring a warship to the Humber as a visitor attraction have been sunk, Hull Council has admitted.

The council - which has been criticised for setting aside £540,000 on plans for a riverside terminal - confirmed it had not made the final shortlist for HMS Illustrious, which was decommissioned earlier this year.

However it said it was pushing ahead with plans for the terminal near the Deep aquarium and other new attractions including a gallery for a collection of maritime paintings

Council leader Steve Brady said the Ministry of Defence intended to strip the vessel, the last of three Invincible-class light aircraft carriers, of its historic assets and were unwilling to provide long-term funding which made it economically unviable as a heritage attraction.

He said: “HMS Illustrious was just one part of our wider strategy for maximising the economic potential of our waterfront. Hull is an excellent regional base close to the centre’s major attractions and a cruise terminal is a must for a port city aiming to become a world-class visitor destination.”

Confusion has reigned over the level of spending so far. In January councillors were told £150,000 had been spent, including hiring an ex-commander for advice. The figure appeared to sail past the £200,000 mark after a decision to spend £80,000 on market and economic assessments. Opposition Liberal Democrats who called for a halt in spending on the project just a few weeks ago said the council needed to pause and reassess its plans. Coun Claire Thomas said: “There are as many questions about a cruise terminal at that location as there were about HMS Illustrious going there - would residents on Victoria Dock be happy about cruise ships berthing outside their houses?”