Police far from satisfied with ArranMan arrangements

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The organiser of the ArranMan event has again been criticised for the lack of preparation for the event being held in just two weeks time.

It is not the first time the ArranMan Triathlon Festival, being held for the fifth time this year, has attracted criticism from the authorities. It was last held in June 2017 but this year has been moved to the Sunday September 23, the Glasgow September weekend.

Island police sergeant Dougie Robertson told Arran Community Council this week that he was ‘some way off being satisfied with the arrangements’ for the event.

He said a meeting had been held on the mainland between the organiser, Alan Anderson, and locality inspector Colin Convery however he was yet to receive an event application, which, while not compulsory, is submitted by most large scale events.

Sergeant Robertson also expressed concern at the proposals for parking restrictions in Lamlash on the day which he considered ‘excessive’ and said it was his view that parking should continue to be allowed in the Co-0p and Lamlash Church area.

The sergeant said that, while he had not been here, he was aware that there had been ‘a bit of annimosity in the past’ but added: ‘It is a work in progress but I am aware time is pressing.’

He said he had a meeting arranged for next Wednesday with North Ayrshire Council and the organisers where he hoped further progress would be made.

Community councillors expressed their concern that the arrangements appeared to be ‘last minute’ as had been the case in previous years. They also said that ArranMan, despite relying on volunteers and the goodwill of the people, was one of the few events which did not make a contribution to the community.

Chairman Bill Calderwood remarked: ‘This is disappointing to say the least.’

Organiser Alan Anderson told the Banner: ‘The ArranMan team are proud to be returning to the island for a fifth year. In the past five years over 2,500 athletes and their families have spent their weekends racing or spectating in Lamlash. Prior to the first race very few triathletes came to the island, now they regularly return to train, to race, and bring their families on vacation.

‘Discussions were had with representatives of Visit Arran and several local hoteliers to chose a suitable date and September weekend was agreed upon.

‘Finalising the usual plans are taking a bit longer than usual this year. The usual planning meetings with North Ayrshire Council and Police Scotland have taken place. Unfortunately in the past couple of weeks a couple of proposed site visits to finalise plans for reducing the duration and size of requested parking restrictions have not happened as desired due to key personnel from our team, North Ayrshire Council or Police Scotland being unavailable due to illness, being off the island on training courses, or family bereavement.

‘We have a meeting planned on the island next week with Police Scotland and North Ayrshire Council to finalise our plans, which this year are smaller than previously.’