Committee Meeting of the Arran Ferry Action Group

  • Present: Gavin Fulton (Chair), Robert Cumming, John Ford (Treasurer), Sharon Shenhav, Sam Bourne, Chris Attkins (Secretary)
  • Apologies: Bob Haddow, Sally Campbell. Andrew Walsh notified his resignation due to pressure of work.

1. Bank Account
This was now open. Individual contributions of £50 per committee member would be arranged as soon as funds were required.

2. Ardrossan Information Request
The committee were disappointed with CalMac's evasive response to their FOI request for evidence of improved reliability following the proposed alteration of Ardrossan Harbour. In their letter, CalMac had cited exemption from FOI of environmental information, Task Force confidentiality, and prejudice to effective conduct of public affairs as their reasons to refuse to share the information we had requested. CMAL had replied that this was nothing to do with them and Peel Ports had referred us to the Ardrossan Task Force Chairman, Paul Wheelhouse MSP, who to date had not replied. Transport Scotland had promised to respond by 8th July.

Sam Bourne thought it very much in the public interest for those involved to share evidence that demonstrated this project would be a success. Robert Cumming was keen to publicise their refusal to share any information that demonstrated the proposed development will improve resilience, since this was clearly in the public interest. Robert also volunteered to write to the Scottish Information Commissioner contesting CalMac's decision to withhold this evidence. He would point out that we were not asking for any information that might, for good reason, be commercially confidential.

In the light of the recently publicised interview with a long-serving Master, the committee noted, with disapprobation, the corporate culture of ignoring those best placed to offer practical advice.

With such reluctance to engage with us, Robert suggested a second public meeting be organised in September or October, with those to whom we have written invited to account for themselves.

3. Community Empowerment re Ardrossan Task Force
Sharon Shenhav had spent much of that morning in Irvine with Karen Yeomans, Executive Director of Economy & Communities, who is in charge of NAC's involvement with the Ardrossan Harbour development. Sharon had specifically discussed with her our request to become a participatory body in the Ardrossan Task Force.

Karen Yeomans showed Sharon a booklet containing different harbour designs, identifying what has been agreed upon in terms of widening the harbour. The booklet, entitled 'Proof of Concept - Ardrossan Harbour', completed in March 2019 and apparently now approved, contained several maps and diagrams. Sharon requested a copy, but this was refused on the basis that it was the property of Peel Ports. She thought we should request a copy from Transport Scotland, with whom it had been shared. Planning of the proposed Ardrossan terminal would commence later in the year. Karen had assured Sharon that her ongoing participation would be welcome and had responded warmly to a lunch invitation when she next visits Arran in August.

Gavin Fulton and Sharon Shenhav had attended Councillor McMaster's most recent Brodick surgery, at which she did not appear, due to her car breaking down. Sharon had then emailed Councillor McMaster explaining the committee's desire to participate in the Ardrossan Task Force under the terms of the Community Empowerment Act. Councillor McMaster said she would need to consult others before meeting to discuss the matter.

At the end of May, Sharon Shenhav had written to the Transport Minister, pointing out the ongoing problems at the Brodick terminal. He had forwarded this to Transport Scotland, who had not responded within their 20-day timescale, so Sharon had e-mailed a further copy to the Transport Minister, requesting a response.

4. Sam Bourne's Proposal for improving Brodick Pier
The committee were keen to present Sam's proposal to Transport Scotland and CMAL. John Ford had previously circulated information from Transport Scotland indicating winter reliability that contradicted CalMac's claim of 99.6%. John suggested that we take up Robbie Drummond's invitation to meet with him to discuss this data and present Sam's proposal as a potential solution. It was agreed that we would also invite CMAL and Transport Scotland to the meeting at a date and place of their choosing.

5. Meeting MSPs
In response to our letters of introduction, Jamie Greene MSP had suggested a couple of dates when he could meet with us on Arran. It was also agreed that we would extend a similar invitation to Kenneth Gibson MSP. Chris Attkins agreed to firm up these arrangements.

6. Concession Ticketing
It was agreed that John Ford would write to Transport Scotland and SPT requesting that measures be taken to reduce the inconvenience currently experienced by elderly passengers having to walk to and from the terminal, ticket booth and their vehicle prior to boarding the ferry.

7. Website
Sharon Shenhav thought we ought to publish photographs and short biographies of all committee members so members of the public know who represents them.

8. Brodick Terminal Stair Handrail
In her absence, Sally Campbell was nominated to write to CMAL requesting this be fitted without further delay.

9. West Coast Ferry Action Group
Robert Cumming volunteered to make contact with local Community Councils in order to make progress with liaising with other ferry user groups.

About Us

The current state of our lifeline ferry service shows it is not fit for purpose in terms of reliability, resilience and infrastructure. The Arran Ferry Action Group is a new and fully representative lobbying group, set up to represent Arran interests in demanding service improvements and accountability in future investment decisions.


Contact Us

Arran Ferry Action Group

Shore Road
Isle of Arran
KA27 8AJ
United Kingdom

+44 (0)1770 302 546