West of Scotland Conservative MSP and North Ayrshire and Arran Conservative and Unionist Association today declared support for the retention of Ardorossan as the home port for the Arran Ferry.
In a joint statement they highlighted moving the homeport to Troon carried significant risks to the local economy and consumers.
Jamie Greene MSP commented:
“We are happy to back Ardrossan and support the retention of Ardrossan as the home port for the Ferry service. While there are always improvements which could be made, there is not much of a case for upping sticks and moving the service to Troon. The economic consequences for the Ardrossan area would be severe with no sign of what might replace the 165 jobs at risk and the £4.4 million in wages that is contributed to the local economy. This does not include the benefit to local shops, filling stations, B & Bs etc. who benefit from the through trade.”
The local MSP called for party politicking to be suspended in order to work towards a cross-party non-partisan approach to dealing with the issue at hand.
“I think whilst Troon’s ambitious pitch is courageous, we really have to think about the effect this would have on the Ardrossan coastline. I think this is no time for party politics and a common sense cross party approach should be afforded to this important issue. It’s vital that we get a consensus on the matter and work in the interests of the local community above all else.”
In addition, Mr Greene also outlined that insufficient transport infrastructure currently exists at Troon which would impede the journey and drive up travel fares for the local consumer:
“We also support the views of the Arran Economic Group whose Development Director has said that “there was no evidence the move would improve the reliability of the service”. The lack of integrated forward transport links at Troon as well as the longer journey times and likely increase in fares offsets any perceived benefit.”
Richard Wilkinson, Chairman of the North Ayrshire and Arran Conservatives added:
“Whilst being guided by the voice of Arran residents, it is believed that any public consultation will support Ardrossan. However, we call on Peel Ports to rise to the challenge and examine with the relevant authorities how the service can be made even better to match the new facilities coming at Brodick and the proposals from Associated British Ports.”