Peel Ports ‘completely unacceptable’ offer delays harbour works again

Transport minister Graeme Dey MSP.

Want to read more?

We value our content and our journalists, so to get full access to all your local news updated 7-days-a-week – PLUS an e-edition of the Arran Banner – subscribe today for as little as 48 pence per week.

Already a subscriber?
Subscribe Now

The redevelopment of Ardrossan harbour has been hit by yet more delays.

The new Scottish transport minister Graeme Dey has confirmed that Transport Scotland has rejected the latest funding offer from owners Peel Ports as ‘completely unacceptable’, so the wrangling goes on.

This means the £35 million Ardrossan harbour project, due to start next year, is likely to be delayed yet again. It has already been decided that the Arran ferry will relocate to Troon during the harbour works from September 2022 for 18 months – but that could now be later or for longer.

Arran MSP Kenneth Gibson was given confirmation of the latest setback after he wrote to the transport minister.

Mr Dey replied: ‘In recognition of the significance of these infrastructure works to the community on Arran, Scottish ministers remain committed to the provision of grant funding for Ardrossan Harbour.

‘I understand and acknowledge the concerns raised by your constituents regarding the lack of progress of the project, however I can assure you that we have been working to address the commercial arrangements which have been prolonged and somewhat challenging due to the technical risks involved.

‘However, on that matter, I have to advise you that Transport Scotland have now written to Peel Ports to confirm that the current commercial and grant terms they are maintaining are completely unacceptable, and that the project cannot proceed in its current form unless the company is prepared to revisit these and take a more balanced stance on the share of cost and risks between parties.

‘Whilst these are matters between ministers and Peel, I can confirm these issues are extremely challenging due to the commercial and technical risks involved. Exposure to such risks needs to be borne fairly and appropriately among project partners, including reflecting the strong commercial benefits to Peel.

‘We have confirmed we remain committed to remaining at Ardrossan and taking forward the project, and have invited Peel to put forward terms that more appropriately reflect the risk and benefits to the parties. I have also written to North Ayrshire Council, who are a key partner in this project, to advise them of this challenge and invite them to work with us to ensure Peel puts forwards proposals that allow us to drive this project forward.’

Mr Gibson said: ‘Negotiations between the Scottish Government and Peel Ports have now dragged on for years. Indeed, I have expressed my concern about this on numerous occasions at Ardrossan Harbour Task Force meetings and directly to Scottish ministers.

‘The situation is such that the arrival of the MV Glen Sannox next year, before Ardrossan Harbour is ready, now necessitates a temporary transfer of the Ardrossan to Brodick service from Troon to Brodick, with all the inconvenience that entails.

‘I am delighted therefore that our new transport minister is determined to take the bull by the horns, in partnership with North Ayrshire Council, to ensure delivery of this vital investment in Ardrossan’s infrastructure and ultimately the Ardrossan to Brodick ferry route.’