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By Hugh Boag
A vital island delivery firm is to have their electricity supply at Ardrossan cut-off in less than three months leaving them with an uncertain few months ahead.
Due to developments on the harbour, owners Peel Ports have told local businesses to find a new supplier by November this year directly affecting Arran Deliveries, Bute Service Station and Jewson Builders.
This has come as a shock to Arran Deliveries who have had their electricity supply via Peel Ports since they built the depot 20 years ago. However, they have been told because of the taxpayer funded development of the harbour area this is no longer viable.
Owner Tony Morrow told the Banner: ‘Myself and the other businesses involved have invested heavily in our harbour premises. For Peel Ports to be given £20 to £30 million of taxpayers money and then to cut off our electricity supply is totally unbelievable. I employ 20 people and to put these and other jobs at risk is completely out of order as I have never taken a penny in grant money in my life.’
And he is angry that small businesses have been only months to arrange for a new supplier when CalMac and the Clyde Marina have been aware of the situation for 18 months.
Mr Morrow has written to West Scotland MSP Jamie Greene and Cunninghame North MSP Kenneth Gibson asking for help. He told them. ‘It seems unreasonable that the taxpayer funds CalMac, Clyde Marina and Peel Ports whilst cutting off electricity and potentially closing down other viable and important businesses within the local community.
‘I am not being dramatic with this statement as the cost of new cable and equipment may be prohibitive, further it is unlikely Scottish Power would be able to do any works within such a short timescale.’
‘Having such a short time to arrange a new power supplier will prove to incredibly difficult for all businesses currently operating on the harbour.
‘Given that this situation has been known for some time, it’s surprising that we only received notice recently. I hope the Scottish government listens to the concerns that we, local businesses, are raising and take some measures to address this,’ he added.
As a result Mr Greene has written to the Scottish government’s business minister Jamie Hepburn to see if the government can assist local businesses. Mr. Greene said he was ‘surprised’ that businesses were kept out of the loop for so long and has asked the Scottish government to intervene to ensure firms can maintain their electricity supply.
Mr Greene said: ‘It is vital that we continue to support local businesses in our community. This is why I have written to the business minister to see if the government can provide some assistance in this matter.’
A spokesman at Peel Ports said: ‘We can confirm that an upgrade to the electrical network at Ardrossan is scheduled for November 2019. This work is to replace the main incoming cable and is essential in safeguarding a long-term sustainable supply. The provision to CalMac will be unaffected.
‘In March 2018 the owners of the affected sites were informed of the plan to cease supply and advised that alternative arrangements would have to be made. A reminder was issued to the tenants in May 2019, followed with confirmation w/c August 5, of the November cut-off date. Early notification of the intended change was communicated to provide sufficient time to source an alternative supply, and mitigate unnecessary disruption. It is our understanding that one of the tenants has already completed this.
‘In the coming weeks we will be convening a meeting with the Marina and the affected tenants to explore options and assist them with the transition.’
However, Mr Gibson said: ‘This matter needs to be resolved with much greater urgency. Holding a meeting “in a few weeks” is not good enough. Local businesses need to be assured of a continuing electricity supply. Peel has a responsibility to itself secure that on behalf of all its tenants, rather than expecting each of them to scurry around seeking alternatives.’
Mr Gibson has written to Peel Ports and North Ayrshire Council, who will be responsible for the ‘land’ aspect of Ardrossan’s harbour regeneration, who are said to be ‘looking into the matter’.
The Ardrossan depot of Arran Deliveries. 01_B34delivery01