Arran Ferry Action Group have received a response to the questions asked regarding the Ardrossan Harbour Development Project that were submitted to the Ferries Infrastructure Project Manager at Transport Scotland. The response is issued from the Isle of Arran Ferry Committee, following recent direction from Transport Minister Graeme Dey MSP and Transport Scotland that all community correspondence should be routed to this group from now on.
Arran Ferry Action Group have been excluded from the Ardrossan Harbour Task Force meetings, despite being named as a stakeholder by the First Minister in December.
The document is somewhat limited in the answers it provides. The fundamental question of when this development will commence is still unanswered. This is still totally dependent on agreement being reached between Transport Scotland and the owners of the port, Peel Ports Group Ltd. This is believed to relate to the division of costs between the two parties, and therefore the share of cost to the taxpayer through Transport Scotland. The project is estimated to be 18 months or more of work.
Some answers are becoming clearer, although they are still shrouded in a little Ayrshire fog.
The service will divert to Troon - irrespective of if the works commence or not - upon the long-delayed Hull 801 / Glen Sannox entering service. This is currently expected to be in Autumn 2022, only 10 months away now. There are significant risks of further delay with this delivery schedule and we wait for more updates from Ferguson Marine with keen interest.
The works at Troon are well advanced and on schedule for completion by Summer 2022.
The separate working group responsible for Troon, involving Associated British Ports (ABP), Transport Scotland, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd (CMAL) and Caledonian Ferries Ltd (CalMac), meets monthly and looks to be developing the plans and details for service continuity. We hope to hear more about these details soon. There is no detail yet of the timetable impact or the service frequency that will be provided. This is a key part of information that the Isle of Arran needs to know in order to plan for what is coming.
The structure of the Task Force still appears extremely confused, with no substantial changes carried out from the recommendations of its own project management review in April 2019. Items such as 'clearly defined roles and responsibilities', a 'clear command structure to a single named project manager' and 'improved community communication' appear to still be on the 'significant and urgent' list. The lack of recent attendance by our Constituency MSP is also notable.
There are many areas where public consultation is promised, like the development of the landside infrastructure such as the terminal building and the proposed timetable. These are promised for early 2022. There are other areas where it is specifically excluded, such as the temporary facilities and connectivity at Troon. Arran Ferry Action Group hopes that these consultations are indeed real exercises in engaging with the community that can influence the final decisions.
The clock is ticking loudly, and if a start date of Autumn 2022 is to be met, all of these elements will need to be progressed very rapidly. Any further delay will push the return of the service to a renewed Ardrossan in a new vessel past the current target of spring 2024.
The Isle of Arran is watching, and waiting.
Arran Ferry Action Group is a fully representative community lobbying group, set up to represent Arran interests in demanding service improvements and accountability in future investment decisions.
We want a ferry system that works. See www.arranferries.scot
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.