The future of troubled Ardrossan Harbour looks set to be finalised next month, with local politicians "confident" that the long awaited upgrade of the facility will be approved by the Scottish Government.

The Ardrossan Harbour Taskforce met last week to discuss the next steps for the planned upgrade of the facility.

And after the meeting, SNP MSP Kenneth Gibson spoke of "a remarkable determination" to take the project forward.

It was revealed that the new business case for the harbour project will now be considered by Transport Scotland’s Investment Decision Making Board on Tuesday, June 5

Mr Gibson added: "Just one day before the 80th anniversary of D-Day, it will be Ardrossan Harbour’s, with Ministers taking the final decision on going out to tender later that month."

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The plans for the Ardrossan harbour project

Since the project was initially agreed six years ago, the arrival of the two new ferries it was set to welcome has been repeatedly delayed. And the harbour upgrade itself was pushed back until it was announced that due to rising costs, a new business case for the harbour would have to be made.

If agreed, the Arran ferry will sail from Troon while the lengthy Ardrossan project takes place.

The Taskforce comprises Mr Gibson, North Ayrshire Council Leader Councillor Marie Burns, NAC officials and representatives of Isle of Arran Ferry Committee, Peel Ports Group, CalMac, Caledonian Maritime Assets Limited, Transport Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Transport Fiona Hyslop MSP, who chairs it.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: A Maritime Hub proposal for the harbour

The business case for the project was reviewed, with Mr Gibson, Ms Burns and the Isle of Arran Ferry Committee all speaking passionately in favour of moving forward as quickly as possible with Ardrossan’s redevelopment.

Key areas where the review could be strengthened to better reflect the needs of the communities who rely on the service were identified.

Ms Hyslop said: “I was pleased to chair the taskforce and wish to thank all members for their attendance and constructive views during the meeting.

"I value the input from project partners and community representatives, which will help us come to an informed decision on the way forward for the project.

“Scottish Ministers have been clear the business case to support the harbour upgrade needs to be robust to give greater certainty on the project costs and financial packages required.

"A review of the business case is ongoing, and this taskforce meeting was an opportunity for project partners to emphasise their position with me in person to help inform our consideration.

“I remain committed to the taskforce process and my officials will keep members up-to-date on all developments around this vital project.”

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: The Ardrossan Harbour plans

Mr Gibson said: “There was a remarkable determination to take forward the redevelopment of Ardrossan Harbour by everyone participating in the meeting and I’m delighted that the very detailed proposal will be examined by Transport Scotland’s Investment Decision Making Board on Tuesday, June 5.

“Given the high level of agreement at the taskforce meeting, I am more confident now about Ardrossan Harbour’s future than I have been for a long time and expect rapid progress in the weeks and months ahead.”     

Cllr Burns said: “This was a positive meeting and it’s encouraging to see the business case for Ardrossan Harbour progressing.

“It’s clear Ardrossan remains the harbour of choice for the Arran ferry, and we hope to see a decision made as soon possible which will allow the much-needed improvements at the harbour to progress.

“The Ardrossan-Brodick route is the shortest, most economical, and greenest ferry route between Arran and the mainland, providing the best long-term solution for our communities and the local economy.”