ANGER at the long delays to upgrade work at Ardrossan Harbour has been raised at the Scottish Parliament.

MSP Katy Clark raised the issue of the lengthy delays to improvement work at the terminal in an exchange with transport minister Jenny Gilruth at Holyrood.

Following Thursday's exchange, Ms Clark said: “The failure by Peel, the landowners, to agree a deal which is acceptable to the public purse has led to a delay of more than four years.

"In the meantime, it is islanders on Arran, those who use ferry services, and the Ardrossan people and economy who suffer.

“I have continually pressed the Scottish Government to push Peel to reach terms. It is clear they must now take compulsory measures so this upgrade work can finally be completed.”

Ms Clark, who represents the West Scotland region for Scottish Labour, also voiced her concerns that the delayed MV Glen Sannox may be completed before the long-awaited harbour upgrades are seen.

In response to Ms Clark's question on the issue, transport minister Jenny Gilruth confirmed that Troon will be used to as the mainland terminal for the Brodick ferry service until the works are complete.

A public consultation is currently under way on different proposed timetables during the use of the port at Troon.

In her response to Ms Clark in the Holyrood chamber, Ms Gilruth said: “The Ardrossan Harbour project is currently at the tender design stage and further work is required.

"The legal and commercial arrangements for investment at this third party owned harbour have been challenging.

"I am frustrated at the lack of progress but am committed to a solution and progress being made at Ardrossan.

“It is also worth reflecting that in this year alone, the Scottish Government will invest £40 million in harbour services.

"Now, some of these ports, like Ardrossan, are privately owned and that can substantially slow progress in relation to improvements and it also comes at a cost to the public purse.”

A spokesperson for Transport Scotland said: “We share the frustrations of island communities about progress to the Ardrossan Harbour project, which is privately owned.  That has helped to substantially slow progress in making improvements and working with all relevant partners, we will explore how we can improve matters.

“The project entered the tender design stage earlier this year and is being progressed by project partners. This stage will take a number of months to complete, before progressing to the tender bid and evaluation, contract award and contractor mobilisation, subject to agreeing commercial terms and funding approval.

“The legal and commercial arrangements continue to be progressed by Transport Scotland with both Peel Ports Group and North Ayrshire Council contributing towards the project.”