The Arran ferry will operate from Troon Harbour for almost two years while construction work is carried out at Ardrossan.

The recommendation, which will see services resume from Ardrossan once works are completed, was confirmed at a meeting of the project’s Ministerial Taskforce. 

The Taskforce’s decision was guided by the Arran community's requests to maximise the reliability of the alternative service for ferry users with the Herald understanding that to run the ferry from Ardrossan whilst construction works are ongoing could lead to a 50 per cent increase in cancellations.

The use of Troon Harbour for the duration of the works was backed by 79 per cent of respondents to a survey carried out earlier this month despite a longer journey time and no train station directly located at the port.

The switch to Troon will not take place until construction work at Ardrossan begins with an official date yet to be confirmed.

The Ardrossan Harbour project is currently estimated to cost between £35-40m, with delivery expected to be completed by early 2024. 

Minister for Energy, Connectivity and the Islands Paul Wheelhouse explained the decision: “We had to take particular account of the potential for significant disruption had services switched to the Irish Berth (Ardrossan), given this would be more difficult to access in rough conditions than the Arran Berth.

“We know this ferry link is a vital lifeline for the Arran community and critical to the tourism sector on the island, so using Troon Harbour on a temporary basis will offer the most resilient option possible during the works."

Further work will also be undertaken to look at potential measures to support the community in Ardrossan during the construction works with fears of the impact the decision will have on jobs and businesses in the area.

Leader of North Ayrshire Council Joe Cullinane said: “This decision has been guided by the need to ensure a reliable and consistent ferry service for Arran during the construction works at Ardrossan Harbour and has clear support from the islands community.

“From a North Ayrshire Council perspective, we recognise that a temporary shift to Troon during the construction phase will have some impact on local businesses, some jobs and those individuals who commute to the island for employment.

"We are committed to working with the Scottish Government, its agencies and partners to mitigate any impact during this period.”

Chair of Arran Ferry Committee Iain Thomson added: “Arran Ferry Committee welcomes the decision which will allow this important project to move forward with clarity.

"We welcome the investment and will continue to work with other partners to support delivery of theses long awaited upgrades to our lifeline services which will improve the island’s economy and quality of life for the residents.”