Arran Community Fund to be created if the island ferry switches to Troon
ABP has announced that its recent ferry bid to the Scottish Government includes a proposal to donate around £50,000 each year to good causes on Arran, if the island’s lifeline ferry service relocates to its Port of Troon.
The company plans to create a new Arran Community Fund, which will generate £50,000 a year, or around £1,000 a week, to benefit the local community.
ABP has already announced plans to invest £8 million in Troon to create a state-of-the-art passenger ferry terminal to serve the Isle of Arran.
The ferry service, which currently operates from Ardrossan, is dogged by weather conditions that frequently exceed the capabilities of the port and result in a significant level of service cancellations. In 2015 approximately 150 crossings were cancelled causing major issues for the travelling public and tourists trying to visit the island.
In contrast, as well as comparable journey times, Troon’s uniquely sheltered harbour offers the prospect of a reliable service for islanders, largely unaffected by adverse weather conditions. Troon also offers improved road and increased rail connections, with access to the upgraded A77/M77 motorway and four trains per hour to Glasgow.
ABP is also in discussions with local stakeholders about providing an electric shuttle bus service for the short hop direct from the ferry terminal to Troon mainline station, which offers trains every 15 minutes to Glasgow and Ayr and 6 trains a day direct to Edinburgh. This enhanced connectivity to the mainland also promises to generate more tourism for the island.
The Port of Troon’s 160-metre berth is already well equipped to handle the next generation of Caledonian Macbrayne ferries destined to serve the route, which are currently under construction on the Clyde.
With a long history of servicing a P&O ferry service to Ireland, Troon’s modern harbour is ready to handle the service with no public funding required. ABP will build a modern ferry terminal, costing £8m, designed to provide industry leading levels of customer service.
ABP’s Port Director of Short Sea Ports Andrew Harston said: “We understand that this service has to deliver robust reliability for the people of Arran, who have endured an unreliable link to the mainland for too long. That’s why we are confident that our proposal to relocate the service to Troon represents a compelling offer.
“Not only does Troon offer comparable journey times and all weather capability, but a step-change in the quality of onward connections. For islanders, Troon represents a transformation in their service. That’s also good for visitors to the island too.
“Relocating the ferry service will undoubtedly be good for Troon’s economy and we are determined to maximise the benefits for the island’s community. That’s why we are setting up a new Arran Community Fund that will generate £50,000 every year, opening up all sorts of new possibilities for co-operative initiatives and good causes on the island.
“It is worth remembering that we are proposing to deliver all of this without recourse to the taxpayer, who faces what is likely to be significant cost that we understand is in the order of £20m-£30m simply to maintain the harbour at Ardrossan.
“Our proposal represents a better deal for the people of Arran and the Scottish Government.”