LONDON, 20-Dec-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — Reliability and frustration over lack of investment are Arran islanders’ key concerns for their lifeline ferry link. That’s the clear conclusion after two consultation sessions held on Arran.
Fed-up of seeing as many as 253 crossings cancelled each year, scores of islanders attended the drop-in sessions at Brodick and Blackwaterfoot to hear more about proposals to relocate the vital ferry service to the Port of Troon.
ABP has promised to invest £8m in new facilities at its port of Troon, which has a sheltered harbour and promises a transformation in the quality and reliability of service for islanders.
Islanders told of plans left in ruins, hospital appointments missed, businesses damaged and holidays spoiled when the Ardrossan service failed. They also complained of a poor standard of facilities and a history of under investment.
ABP’s local team from its ports of Ayr and Troon, was on hand to explain to islanders how, despite experiencing the same weather as Ardrossan, Troon’s north facing harbour shelters the ferry terminal. This means vessels can comfortably berth in most conditions, leading to dramatically reduced cancellations. Without the construction of new breakwaters at Ardrossan, Troon will continue to offer vastly superior reliability of service.
ABP’s team also answered questions about plans for a free shuttle bus from the port to the train station and explained how journey times to Glasgow would be quicker via Troon thanks to its superior rail links.
Local people also suggested how best to distribute a £50,000 annual donation to good causes on the island, which ABP has vowed to make if the service switches to Troon. Suggestions including splitting the monies between villages on the island as well as investing it in causes such as children’s services, the arts, conservation and improving the marine environment.
Stuart Cresswell, Port Manager for Ayr and Troon, said: “Thank you to everyone who took the time to come along. There has been a significant degree of misinformation reported around our proposals for Troon, so it was great to be able to explain the facts to the people that need to hear them most first hand.
“We had a warm reception from the people of Arran, who genuinely welcome our proposals and the opportunity to discuss them informally. Many reported bitter experiences with the current service and deep frustration at the long history of under investment.
“ABP understands how important the ferry service is for the people of Arran and we were able to explain how our proposals mean fewer cancellations, new facilities and faster travel times thanks to superior transport connections.
“Troon represents a better deal for the people of Arran. And because ABP will fund all investment itself, Troon is clearly a better deal for the Scottish government as well.”
ABP plans to hold further consultation sessions in the New Year. Islanders wanting further information on any aspect of the proposals can email queries to firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: Associated British Ports
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