Arran Banner letters – week 36

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Charging point woes

Some electric vehicles (EV) can only take certain charge point facilities. There is one at the Auchrannie that never works despite me specifically phoning before arriving on the island asking if it was in working order and the lady said ‘yes’ – then put me on hold, came back and said ‘yes, it’s in working order’.

On arrival to the island with only a few miles left of charge, to my horror I discovered it was out of order and, of course, no one knows anything about them or how to fix them.
I have in past years always had the same issue. Their charge point is first generation long since past its best (per the words of charge your car UK). It seems it’s never working, always has faults and needs manually reset by the staff at the soft play area, who are young kids themselves and do not know how to open the unit or reset it.

Then we have the Glenisle Hotel in Lamlash – a more updated charging point tucked away in the most inaccessible place they could find, allowing cars to block the unit completely. When I went into the hotel to ask and state a car had been blocking the charge point for a few days now, they took my number saying they would get the owner to move and call me when it was moved. Six days later they have yet to call.

The only other unit is at the Kinloch Hotel in Blackwaterfoot. Thankfully I was able to get enough charge there to get back to Brodick and over to the mainland. But if that was not working then I’d have been stuck with an EV car and no charging point usable. The main points on Shore Road are the rarely used fast chargers, meant for high powered Teslars and fast charging vehicles, and its taken them four plus years to paint the spaces green. Prior to that they were always used by other non-electrical cars blocking for others who may have needed them, a subject I wrote to about previously in the Banner.

This year I was lucky but it seems the Auchrannie and the Glenisle hotels, although claiming to have these facilities, fall far, far short of actually being able to operate them sufficiently for EV users.
Two out of 10 for management of these units, and zero out of 10 on their customer services for assisting users wishing to charge their vehicles on the island. I was stunned and very disappointed

Had it not been for the Blackwaterfoot charge point my car would have had to be collected by recovery truck at who knows what cost.

Do they care? No. Has either hotel called back. No. Given the islands lockdown I’d have thought customer service would have to be at its maximum, going that extra mile to help everyone to a memorable experience. My experience is one of dread now. I am back on the island in October and I could put my life on it that the Auchrannie charger point will still be out of service

Perhaps a warning to EV users that these charging points are not to be relied on. Despite what the staff say, they know nothing about the operational condition of the units – red on one side, off line; flashing blue on the other, connection error. It’s not rocket science.
A very, very disappointing trip.
Paul McDowall, Paisley.

Demolish the McLaren

As many will have predicted, myself included, I have not heard back from the owner of the McLaren site in Brodick, see Arran Banner July 24.

It has been a month since I wrote and I have been reassured that he received the letter. So, we are at the same stage now as the hotel is itself – stagnant.

I had such an overwhelmingly positive response to the idea of converting the site to a outdoor shopping area with added benefits, that it is frustrating that we cannot take things further. Even if the price was more than the £285k that was paid five years ago, it would have been interesting to look at the site with eyes on the long-term advantages of owning the site as a community. As it is, there seems to be little – if any – advancement of plans to create a new £9m hotel.  I personally think it’s time to start piling on some pressure.

What is certain is that (a) the property is dangerous, (b) it needs demolishing and (c) people are currently using it for whatever purpose they choose. I would ask that we try, individually if necessary, to put some pressure on North Ayrshire Council to impose a demolition order on the premises and perhaps then the owner will return to discuss the options.

Now, I will add here that I know nothing of demolition orders. However, having perused the web, there’s a possibility it could cost £80k to level the building. If NAC had to do this themselves, they’d have to seek reimbursement from the owners. But if that’s the case and the owner can’t pay, I also believe NAC has the right to buy back the site, to reimburse themselves for the demolition.

If all that is correct, and I remind you that I am no expert, then it may be a way to shake things up a little, to say the least – especially if the community can show the council that they are keen to take it on.

I would therefore ask that people write to NAC with their ‘concerns’ regarding the current state of the site.

I have also started an online petition which can be found at:


Graham Chappell,


Brodick Bar’s early years


I enjoyed reading your article on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Brodick Bar in last week’s Arran Banner.  Perhaps your readers would be interested to know more about the founding of the bar and the first 10 years.

The idea of a pub on Arran was the brainwave of local couple Stewart and Alison Currie who, not only took on the initial financial risk, but also had the vision and enthusiasm to make it a success. They had to overcome quite a few obstacles along the way, including licensing board approval and some personal local objections. Thanks to the energy and determination of Stewart and Alison, the obstacles were overcome and the pub became an immediate success.

Sadly Stewart is no longer with us, but Alison still lives locally and is an active member of the local community. As a long-term friend and customer, I have very fond memories of those early years in Brodick Bar.

PS – I have an ashtray.


Alastair Sillars,



Smiddy tools help


Now that we are up and running, we are able to turn our attention to our new project at the Arran Heritage Museum. We hope to improve the presentation and interpretation of our smiddy.

When we came to investigate the amazingly diverse contents, left in situ as the smiddy closed for the last time, we realise that none of us has the knowledge to identify many of them, let alone their usage. As so often before, we are turning to Banner readers for help. Is there anyone out there with the knowledge we need? If so, please get in touch with us at the museum.


Christine Black,

Honorary secretary,

Arran Heritage Musuem, 



Well looked after


My husband and I were so pleased to return to Arran for a weeks holiday last week. We found the island welcoming and ready to cope with all the new rules.

The reason for this email is to say thank you to each village community for keeping open and maintaining the toilets on the island. Not only were the facilities available, but so well looked after and clean every time.

I’m sure all the visitors to the island are most grateful for this kindness.Well done!


Frances Coid,