Mure Dickie’s report (“Creaking Scottish islands ferry network dents confidence in SNP”, March 29) highlighted some of the issues, but there is another factor to be considered.
Islanders are said to have been consulted on the new ferry and new terminals but nothing changes in the design. So the Isle of Arran’s three-year-old Brodick ferry terminal was supposed to cost £ 18mn but in fact came in at £ 32mn, and is problematic for a number of reasons. First, it was built at right angles to the old established pier. It also does not take easterly or north-easterly Clyde sea swell, which can make it dangerous for ships to berth, and finally provides poor access for foot passengers who have a long hike to the vessel.
Arran islanders clearly said no to the design, but it was built anyway. Now a new terminal in Ardrossan on the Scottish mainland is to be built, with the same design and a £ 15.5mn starting price, and no islanders in their right mind applaud it.
So two examples of a serious waste of public money. Islanders are fed up that no one listens to their experiences. The Arran Ferry Action Group, an activists’ group, was set up to change the ways things are done.
The old Ardrossan harbor was designed by Thomas Telford, the Victorian civil engineer, and constructed before the Battle of Waterloo. Telford recommended the construction of an outer breakwater to the existing harbor to mitigate against westerly sea swells.
His advice was ignored and so the harbor has been vulnerable to westerly sea swells ever since. This has been the cause of many ferry disruptions over the years.
What is needed, if the authorities insist on continuing to use this harbor – already four years late – for the grossly large Glen Sannox ferry is an outer breakwater.
We need better leadership of ferry services in Scotland. Less powerful egos and more listening to the islanders.
Member, Arran Ferry Action Group
Lamlash, Isle of Arran, UK