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By Hugh Boag
Work on the redevelopment of Ardrossan harbour is expected to start before the end of the year and take 21 months to complete, it was confirmed this week.
It is exactly four years since the ministerial Ardrossan Habour Taskforce was set up by the Scottish government. But despite 48 months of talking nothing has been done to improve facilities at the port.
Now Arran MSP Kenneth Gibson has lodged a motion at the Scottish parliament in which he demanded to know when the work would start.
This is despite the outline design for the upgrade being formally signed off by the ministerial taskforce in May of last year. As that time the next staged of the process, detailed design work and the procurement process, was expected to be finished by the end of 2019 allowing work to start in the spring, but that has now been delayed until autumn, at the earliest.
The work will see the current Arran berth closed to allow it to be realigned, a new linkspan installed and a new terminal building constructed. The Arran ferry is likely to be accommodated at the Irish berth for most of the works, but an alternative arrangement may be required to be made at some point.
Mr Gibson’s motion, lodged on Monday states: ‘That the parliament notes that February 3, 2020 is the fourth anniversary of the first meeting of the Ardrossan Harbour Taskforce, which was formed to improve the operation of the harbour and consider any infrastructure work required for the entry into service of the new ferry earmarked for the Ardrossan-Brodick route.
The motion goes on to note that: ‘While the taskforce meets only twice a year, numerous discussions have been held involving stakeholders, such as Transport Scotland, Peel Ports, CalMac, CMAL, North Ayrshire Council and the Isle of Arran Ferry Committee; was heartened when the Taskforce committed to a multi-million pound investment to upgrade Ardrossan harbour, accommodate the new ferry and improve weather resilience on the route by reducing the number of sailings cancelled.’
The motion ‘expresses deep frustration however at what it sees as the inordinate amount of time taken to agree a design and funding and for work to begin at the harbour, which it believes is leading the people of both Arran and Ardrossan to wonder if, let alone when, this will happen, and therefore urges all partners in the Taskforce to urgently conclude their deliberations and to announce the date when work to redevelop Ardrossan harbour will start on site.’
A Transport Scotland spokesman said: ‘The Ardrossan harbour project is currently in the planning and design phase, with the marine infrastructure Option 2 – being progressed to exemplar design for tender stage.
‘The marine and landside infrastructure works are expected to be completed within 21 months of construction commencing with closure of the Arran berth anticipated in Q4 of 2020 until Q2 2022.’
The Arran berth at Ardrossan which will be realigned during the works. 01_B06harbour01