THE cost of public services to and from Arran will increase if the Brodick ferry route moves to Troon and could be the “death knell” for Ardrossan, a local councillor has warned.
John Hunter, who represents Ardrossan and Arran, warned that moving the ferry to Troon would push up the price of council services – with North Ayrshire footing the bill, while South Ayrshire benefits.
Councillor Hunter was addressing the recent Save Our Ferry meeting in Ardrossan Civic Centre when he first raised the concerns about the added cost to public services.
Referring to the many public services delivered by North Ayrshire Council, he said that these would run “at extra expense, extra time” and “extra travel”.
He added: “We would pay for it. People on North Ayrshire and Arran would be funding all this while people down in Troon and Associated British Ports, they would pick up the benefit of having the ferry traffic. We get nothing out of it. We pay the bills, nothing else.”
This week, Councillor Hunter told the Herald: “The principle of this is simply that North Ayrshire Council is responsible for delivering these services on the community of Arran. If the ferry service was moved to Troon that means that the vehicles – and there are a lot of them – would have to be sent down to Troon, put on the ferry, and brought back. This is extra expense.
“You've got Care at Home, social work, lighting, roads, many, many things. I only highlighted the main ones at the meeting like education, infrastructure, maintenance, refuse collection – the cost mounts up very quickly. And in a rural place like Arran it’s already more costly. We would still be responsible for these services but South Ayrshire will be getting the jam.
“Troon, Turnberry, Dunure – these are places that will survive without the ferry. They're currently surviving without the Ireland ferry. They wouldn't miss anything. But for Ardrossan, it would be the death knell. It would kill the town.”
A North Ayrshire Council spokesperson said: “We have been assessing the potential impact of the loss of the Ardrossan-Brodick ferry crossing since ABP Ports first announced its interest in operating the service from Troon.
“It is clear that moving the ferry from Ardrossan to Troon would have severe practical and financial consequences for residents and the Council.
“All services would be affected in some way - from roads to waste collection, from education to building services. Of particular concern would be the delivery of health and social care services, taking into account the increased commute time.
“All of this information is being collated and will ultimately form part of our submission to the Transport Minister for his consideration.”