Two community groups bid for old ferry terminal

The former waiting room in the old ferry terminal.

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By Hugh Boag

At least two community groups are interested in taking on the lease of the old ferry terminal in Brodick, it emerged this week.

However they have less than two weeks to finalise their plans and submit their application to owners Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd, which has set a closing date of August 18.

The building has come up for lease again as the original plan to convert it into a cinema has been abandoned, as reported last month in the Banner.

The Arran Development Trust (ADT) is proposing a community hub while a second bid for a Green Welcome Centre is under consideration.

The property is a single storey building of brick and block construction of around 315 sq m under a pitched roof and concrete tile clad roof.

The roof structure has a glass skylight in the centre providing additional natural light into the building. The small car park adjacent to the building has also been added to the lease.

CMAL says it will consider the community benefits of all the proposals to lease the building put forward and is also open to sub-division of the property to create smaller units.

Arran Development Trust, which made an unsuccessful bid last time round, is working in association with VisitArran, Arran Arts Trust, Arran Community and Voluntary Services and Arran Community Council and plans to turn the building into a community hub and a gateway of all that the island has to offer.

This could include an action and adventure hub, arts and crafts, and food and drink displays as well as offices for start-up businesses and community groups.

It could also be an active travel hub, providing showers and facilities to walkers and cyclists.

However, nothing has yet been finalised in the detail and there is recognition that there will have to be a commercial element to make the final proposal viable.

In the other bid Michael Gettins, chair of Arran Repair Cafe, said: ‘A conversation has begun to create an alliance to establish a Green Welcome Centre in the former ticket office in Brodick.

‘The centre will showcase initiatives facilitating a more sustainable island community.’

A third as yet unknown bid, thought to be commercial, is also under consideration.

One major drawback to any bid is the building’s energy performance rating which is said to be ‘very poor’ so a good deal of money would be required to be spent on improvements.

All the bids received will be assessed by a committee comprising Graham & Sibbald letting agents, CMAL and, for the community benefits section, a representative of the Ferry Community Board will join the committee.

While 50 per cent of the weighting score will be determined by the community benefits of the proposal, 30 per cent will go to the highest financial bid, with a 20 per cent consideration on how the proposed use would work in conjunction with the operational ferry terminal.

Karen Jamieson, buildings and property manager at CMAL said: ‘We are keen to deliver a use that will benefit Brodick and the wider island community.’

However, not everyone agrees that the building is worth saving.

Community councillor Richard McMaster told the meeting: ‘The biggest community benefit would be to flatten it and get the cars off the road.’