MV Royal Daffodil Ferry set for new life as floating restaurant

Plans for a historic River Mersey ferry to become a floating restaurant and bar space are to move a step closer.

Last June, Liverpool Council gave the go-ahead for the MV Royal Daffodil to be transformed at a mooring point within Canning Dock to welcome guests at a permanent point for the first time in more than a decade. The project is being fronted by directors Josh Boyd and Philip Borg-Olivier, the former Brookside actor.

Five years on from initial proposals being submitted, the scheme is taking its next step forward, with a bid launched to the city’s licensing authority to secure a premises licence.

For more than six decades, the MV Royal Daffodil took thousands of passengers across the river connecting Liverpool and the Wirral before being decommissioned and falling into disrepair, plans for a redesign of the historic vessel have been signed off.

Having originally been submitted in 2019, fresh designs were put forward to reimagine the ferry – once known as MV Overchurch – into a restaurant, bar and event space last summer. The Daffodil will be anchored at a mooring point located within Canning Dock, leased from Canal and River Trust.

It is expected the ship will now be used for a mixture of uses for events such as corporate events, conferences, weddings, exhibitions and live music. The directors are seeking a licence to welcome guests from 8am to 11pm Monday to Thursday and until 2am Friday to Sunday.

Alcohol would be served on the premises from 11am to 11pm weekdays and until 2am on weekends with similar terms sought for any performances. Live music would be played from midday until 11pm.

Part of the bridge deck has also been earmarked to become a heritage museum. Mr Boyd told last summer’s planning committee plans were afoot for a 126-cover restaurant and was conscious of its presence at Canning Dock.

He said, “There is a huge regard and admiration for this vessel so it is important to create a scheme which stands up to the quality of the waterfront in Liverpool.”

Potential use as a boutique hotel on the lower deck could be introduced “once the other uses on the boat have become established and successful,” according to planning documents.

The vessel has undergone refurbishment at Garston dock having fallen into a dilapidated condition.

Those who wish to comment on the proposals can do so via the Liverpool Council website until 6 July.

Image: © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)

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