Relocating Scotland’s busiest ferry route from Ardrossan could be “fatal” for the town, MSP Katy Clark warned today.

The Scottish Labour politician hit out ahead of a general question she is to put to Fiona Hyslop, the Minister for Transport, this Thursday in the Scottish Parliament.

Ms Clark is demanding the Scottish Government re-establish its commitment that Ardrossan will retain the service come what may, declaring: “It’s what islanders want, it’s what ferry users want, it’s what the workforce want."

The First Minister reaffirmed his commitment to retaining Ardrossan for the Brodick route in September.

But the Scottish Government has since publicly indicated that no decision has been made in light of delays to the project to redevelop Ardrossan Harbour, which includes proposals for repairs necessary to run the two delayed vessels under construction at Ferguson Marine.

Ms Clark has repeatedly called on the Scottish Government to compulsorily purchase the harbour from controversial owner Peel Ports, which took six years to agree grant terms for the project with the Scottish Government.

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A refreshed business case is now delayed, with a Fraser of Allander socio-economic report commissioned by North Ayrshire Council also awaiting publication.

Ms Clark, MSP for West Scotland, said: “Ardrossan residents are deeply alarmed about the impact moving the service could have on the town’s survival.

"It would not be an overstatement to say that Ardrossan losing the route for even a prolonged period could be absolutely fatal for its future.

“It’s seven years and seven transport ministers since Ardrossan won the campaign to keep the ferry service to Arran.

"The town is one of the most deprived in Scotland, but the ferry service provides a genuine lifeline. It’s a key reason Ardrossan retains three rail stations. Its traffic enables local cafes and shops to stay afloat, and its location is crucial for supply chains.

“Meanwhile, islanders already struggle with a challenged service. They’re clear Ardrossan-Brodick is their preferred route as it’s by far the shortest and quickest crossing, with infrastructure and transport links."

The MSP added: "Relocating the service would be an extraordinary betrayal. There’s near-unanimous local support for keeping it in Ardrossan – it’s what islanders want, it’s what ferry users want, it’s what the workforce want.

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“Rather than recognise the harbour is a vital strategic asset and take it into public ownership to accelerate progress, the Scottish Government has spent years dithering.

"The time has come for ministers to make a decision: will it finally invest in Ardrossan or abandon it for good?”

Scotland's transport minister, Fiona Hyslop, will respond to the MSP's question in the Holyrood chamber on Thursday.