Campaign to save Ardrossan to Brodick ferry route is launched
The official campaign to save the Ardrossan to Brodick ferry route has been launched in a stirring show of support from both sides of the crossing.
Members of the public joined local organisations and businesses to demonstrate the fierce level of backing - on both Arran and the mainland - for the retention of the route.
The campaign has launched under the name of Keep it A to B – Ardrossan to Brodick and encourages supporters to use the hashtag #SaveOurFerry on social media.
The campaign launch comes just days after Transport Minister Humza Yousaf announced an appraisal of the Arran ferry service - taking into account the local social and economic benefits, the impact on public spending and the needs of ferry users.
That followed an announcement from Associated British Ports that they wanted to take the service from Ardrossan and operate it from Troon.
The Keep it A to B campaign highlights the overwhelming case for retaining the ferry route which has operated successfully between Ardrossan and Brodick for almost 180 years.
The campaign has backing from Ardrossan ferry terminal operators Peel Ports, North Ayrshire Council and a host of local businesses including Clyde Marina, Invincible Fire and Security, Ardrossan Print Company, Cecchini's Restaurant & Bar, and Abbotsford Nursing Home.
Council Leader Joe Cullinane said: “Although the campaign has only officially launched today, we’ve already been overwhelmed by support from both sides of the crossing for keeping the Ardrossan to Brodick route.
“The level of support shown today demonstrates that those who use the route want it to continue on its current crossing. They don’t want a slower, longer and more expensive journey with fewer crossings.
“Passengers, businesses, local organisations and residents – both on the mainland and on Arran – have told us they want to keep the shortest, fastest and cheapest route and that is Ardrossan to Brodick.
“The case for Troon makes no sense – but the case for keeping the Arran ferry sailing from Ardrossan is irresistible.”
The Keep it A to B campaign will highlight the social, moral, economic and environmental case for retaining the current route.
The campaign was launched at Arran’s Brodick ferry terminal today (Monday) with support from members of the public, local organisations and businesses.
Tom Tracey, Chairman of Arran Economic Group, said: "We are confident that the study being undertaken by Transport Scotland will prove that the Ardrossan route is the most viable and will ultimately serve the Arran community more effectively in the long term than the alternative route proposed at Troon.
“This is borne out by a recent survey undertaken by the Business Gateway, with initial results showing strong support for the route to Arran remaining at Ardrossan."
The launch then moved to the mainland where representatives of local organisations and businesses gathered at Ardrossan ferry terminal to show the wide level of backing for the crossing on the mainland side.
Roger Woods, Managing Director of Invincible Fire and Security, said the potential loss of Ardrossan ferry terminal could spell the end for his ambitious plans for a DIY outlet in the town.
He said: “We are planning to invest a total of more than £600,000 to open a new commercial outlet in Ardrossan town centre, creating new jobs and improving the amenity of the town centre.
“We have already invested more than £30,000 into the project but, if the Arran ferry is taken from Ardrossan, we will not be able to proceed with our ambitious plans.”
Doug Coleman, Peel Ports’ project director for Ardrossan Harbour, said: “It is tremendous to see so many local people in both Arran and Ardrossan showing their support for keeping the shortest, fastest and cheapest route.
“We share their commitment to saving the ferry route between Ardrossan and Brodick and are making significant progress in partnership with North Ayrshire Council on our plans for major investment and improvements to the infrastructure at Ardrossan.”
The campaign launch also comes just days before a full meeting of North Ayrshire Council where Council Leader Joe Cullinane will table a motion, noting with regret the “divisive and opportunistic” bid by Associated British Ports to replace the long-established Ardrossan-Brodick route with a longer, slower and more expensive crossing from Troon.
In a demonstration of the cross-party support for the Ardrossan to Brodick route, Willie Gibson, the SNP Leader of the main opposition group on the Council, is expected to second the motion.