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Transport key to a vibrant Ayrshire

Posted on 13 Feb 2018

Improving Ayrshire’s roads and transport network is key to transforming the local economy. That was the message from Ayrshire’s transport chiefs at a special summit in Kilmarnock on Friday.

The event was organised by the Ayrshire Growth Deal team as they cranked up the pressure for fresh investment from the UK and Scottish Governments.

The Growth Team deal are looking for around £350 million to help support a number of transformational projects across Ayrshire.

Key to future growth of Ayrshire is local roads, transport links and improvements to rail, ferry and air travel.

Stewart Turner, Head of Ayrshire Roads Alliance,  said: “The Transport Summit was our opportunity to outline the huge potential for Ayrshire and how investment in an improved transport network will help us achieve that. We need to improve connections across Ayrshire, Scotland and then the UK which will see quicker journey times for people and businesses using our road.  It’s vital we have better quality, more accessible and affordable choices for the public.

“We must also ensure public transport provides a value for money alternative to the car which will have the knock on effect of reducing emissions and tackling climate change to improve health and air quality.”

Caitriona McAuley, head of Economic Growth for North Ayrshire Council, added: “We were delighted to meet with some key stakeholders to help develop the case for investment in Ayrshire. To have a strong, robust and thriving economy we need the transport infrastructure to support it.  The two go hand in hand.”

They were joined by around 100 guests at the event at the Park Hotel. They spoke about some of the potential projects for Ayrshire which include:

•           Prestwick & Monkton Road Improvements

•           Upgrade A70 Ayr - Cumnock - M74 road

•           Bellfield Roundabout

•           Ayr Bypass

•           Maybole Bypass

•           A737 Kilwinning to Howood road improvements

•           B714 Link Road Improvements

•           Improvements to rail, to ferries, to air

•           Integrated travel initiatives

The event was opened by Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council, who said: “For Ayrshire is to achieve the economic growth it aspires to we need to have a 21st century transport network which is agile enough to accommodate future growth and to ensure Ayrshire maintains its competitive edge and supports the economy and communities of Ayrshire.”

Councillor Ian Cochrane, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Sustainability and the Environment, said: “Ayrshire is in a really enviable location with access to travel by air, road, rail and sea and we need to ensure that we maximise all of these to their fullest potential for the benefit of our businesses, our economy, our people and our communities.

“The Transport Summit was a great opportunity to get that conversation going and to identify the challenges and what’s needed to turn our ambitions into reality. I look forward to seeing these discussions move forward and turn into actions in due course, which will help us realise Ayrshire’s growth potential.”

Allison Irvine from national transport agency, Transport Scotland provided an insight into what’s happening nationally.

And a spokesperson from Transport Scotland added: “Building on the success of the Dumfries and Galloway Transport Summit held in 2016, today’s Ayrshire Transport Summit is another good example of the kind of partnership working we want to see to help improve road, rail, public transport and active travel across the country.

“This summit is bringing together East, North and South Ayrshire Councils, local politicians, business leaders, community groups and transport providers to identify transport problems and opportunities within the Ayrshire area. This is a great example of strong regional collaboration.

“The follow up work to this summit will help inform a forthcoming regional transport appraisal for Ayrshire and will also be considered as part of the Strategic Transport Projects Review (STPR2) which when completed will establish the strategic direction for transport infrastructure investment in Scotland for the next 20 years.