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Chief Executive welcomes Arran ferry decision

Posted on 12 Apr 2017

The decision to continue 182 years of ferry services between Arran and Ardrossan has been welcomed by North Ayrshire Council Chief Executive Elma Murray.

The announcement from Keith Brown, the Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, comes at the end of a five-month-long campaign supported by a wide range of community groups, businesses and public and private sector organisations – both on Arran and on the mainland.

The community campaign was launched by North Ayrshire Council and Ardrossan Harbour owners Peel Ports following a speculative bid by Associated British Ports to switch the lifeline service from its traditional home to their own harbour in Troon.

Ms Murray said: “Without doubt, the Minister has reached the right decision following lengthy and detailed consideration of the technical data gathered during the assessment of both mainland berthing options.

“Today’s announcement will reassure Arran residents and the wider travelling public that Ardrossan genuinely offers the best location for the new generation ferry being introduced in 2018.

“We are also grateful and proud of how the communities of Arran and Ardrossan rallied behind the fantastic ‘Keep it A to B – Save Our Ferry’ campaign.

“It has been a magnificent example of a community-wide response to a very real threat to the economic wellbeing of North Ayrshire and everyone should be proud of the commitment and spirit of the campaign.

“While we were never in any doubt that the people and businesses of Ardrossan would fight to save their ferry terminal, it was wonderful to see the community and business groups on Arran – the very people who rely on the service every day - also come out in support of retaining the historic link.”

Ms Murray added: “The Council and Peel Ports will now work towards delivering what we promised during the campaign - a major £15 million redevelopment of the Ardrossan ferry terminal and marine infrastructure to service the route for the next 30 years.

“Today’s announcement will ensure that the residents of Arran and Kintyre get the world class ferry service they deserve. It will also unlock more than £100 million of investment in the wider regeneration of Ardrossan.”

The announcement follows on from the publication on March 20 of the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) report which supported the view that the Arran and Kintyre ferry services should remain at Ardrossan. Having given interested parties an opportunity to respond the report, today’s announcement has now confirmed that the services will continue to sail from Ardrossan.

Doug Coleman, project director for Peel Ports, said: “We were always convinced that the benefits of retaining the ferry service on the shortest, fastest and cheapest route were overwhelming. Now that we have been given a long-term commitment by the Scottish Government, we are able to start on the biggest investment programme Ardrossan Harbour has seen in recent years.

“The new passenger and marine infrastructure – combined with the new £48.5 million ferry, which will come into service in the autumn of next year - will be of enormous benefit to the people of Arran and Kintyre – and to the hundreds of thousands of visitors who use the ferry service each year.

“From my many meetings with local people and other ferry users over the past few months, they have enthusiastically backed retaining the ferry on its traditional route, but they also made it clear that they wanted major investment in Ardrossan to meet the standard of the new vessel. That’s what we’re now going to deliver.”