Businesses in the Ardrossan area will be given support by council bosses to make up for the loss of income they will suffer when the Arran ferry is relocated to Troon, Cabinet Member for Economy and Climate Change Tony Gurney revealed.

And council officials will be pulling out all the stops to ensure the stay in the South Ayrshire port will be as short as possible.

Troon will be used as a temporary terminal for the Arran service while work takes place at Ardrossan harbour to accommodate the new MV Glen Sannox - still being completed at the Ferguson yard in Port Glasgow, more than five years after the ship's hull was launched.

Conservative group leader Councillor Tom Marshall detailed his concerns about the Arran ferry service at the full North Ayrshire Council meeting on Wednesday.

He said: “Given the completion date for the Glen Sannox as the Arran replacement ferry is now five years late and still indeterminate, the failure to agree on economic package to adapt the berthing arrangements at Ardrossan to allow for the new ferry to dock, [and] the plan by CalMac to move the mainland port to Troon, what will be the economic impact on Ardrossan and the wider North Ayrshire economy by such a change of port and what plans do the Administration have to mitigate such?”

Councillor Gurney responded:  “CalMac has indicated that they currently expect to take possession of the Glen Sannox in autumn 2023.

“There will then be an extensive period of sea trials and testing before it can go into service. 

“It is currently estimated it will be early into 2024 before the new ferry is operational. Works at Troon are underway and are programmed for completion before the Glen Sannox is in service.  

“It is understood that Ardrossan will remain the ferry port until the Glen Sannox is in service.

“There will be an economic impact from the temporary relocation of the ferry to Troon.

"This has not been quantified, however, the extent of the economic impact will depend on the duration of the relocation to Troon.

“It is important to ensure the impact is reduced as far as possible by ensuring the temporary relocation is for the minimal time possible. 

“Officers will continue to work with the Ardrossan Harbour partners, Transport Scotland, CalMac, Caledonian Maritime Assets Ltd and Peel Ports Group, to ensure this is the case.  

“The reduced footfall in Ardrossan arising from the temporary relocation to Troon will impact on local businesses. 

“The council’s business support and development team will engage with affected businesses to offer support during the relocation and also to assist them realise potential opportunities arising from the return of the ferry to Ardrossan, which will see an increased footfall due to greater passenger numbers. 

“The ability of people to commute effectively will also have an economic impact.

“To mitigate these impacts locally, officers are advised that appropriate measures to facilitate travel to and from the temporary Troon port from Ardrossan will be put in place. 

“This will see the provision of a shuttle bus service to and from the Troon port from Ardrossan. CalMac are engaging with local bus companies to discuss the available options to support ferry users. 

“This will be particularly important for local residents employed directly through the ferry services and commuters accessing employment via the ferry.”