THE outline design for the upgrade of Ardrossan Harbour has been formally signed off by the Ministerial Taskforce for the project.

This significant revamp of facilities will increase the reliability and resilience of ferry services, as well improve passenger facilities and introduce an integrated transport hub for onward travel.

The next stage is for detailed design work, and the subsequent procurement process, to be completed by the end of 2019.

Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2020.

Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse said: “The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring the Arran ferry service is fit for the future, so formalising the outline design is an important milestone in this project.

“Ultimately, the upgrade to Ardrossan Harbour will help bring greater resilience and reliability to this vital ferry link, as well as making the experience better for passengers.

“I thank all the members of the Ministerial Taskforce for their work on this, and look forward to seeing the project continue to progress in the coming months.”

Andrew Hemphill, Port Director at Peel Ports Clydeport, said: “Peel Ports remains committed to the effective and safe delivery of the project, working in collaboration with our partners.

“Improving the long-standing service between Ardrossan and Arran remains a priority for our business.”

Karen Yeomans, Executive Director (Economy and Communities) at North Ayrshire Council, said: “This is very welcome news.

“The Ardrossan-Arran ferry has been operating successfully for nearly 200 years and also provides an invaluable service to Campbeltown.

“These upgrades are absolutely essential to ensuring the sustainability and reliability of the routes as we move forward.

“We have some ambitious plans for Ardrossan. The harbour and the ferry route play a key part in our overall ambitions for the town.

“We look forward to works starting.”

What are your views on the future of Ardrossan Harbour? Contact the Herald on 01294 464321 or email and let us know.