Kilcreggan Harbour consultation ‘must be urgently reviewed’ says councillor
The consultation on ‘Kilcreggan Harbour’ is poorly considered and needs to be reviewed ‘as a matter of urgency’, a councilor has said.
And a campaigner said the plans in the survey contained errors and used outdated information – while it emerged the new ferry may not be in service until 2032, seven years later than the consultation said.
The document’s preferred option, launched by Argyll and Bute Council yesterday, is still a £9.3m new pontoon and breakwater (above), despite being heavily criticized by residents last year.
The initial survey stated that Kilcreggan and Rosneath were on the Cowal Peninsula.
This was later corrected, but the wording of the survey still causes confusion as it specifically mentions those two villages, but nowhere else on the Rosneath Peninsula, such as Cove, Clynder or Ardpeaton.
To reach the five-question survey, the public must scroll through 3,500 words of background, as well as several diagrams, and the survey itself does not give an option to reject all three proposed designs – the other two listed is below.
Today Mr. Mark Irvine, who lives in Kilcreggan, said the preferred option 4a would have an impact on the town’s entire seafront.
Mark Irvine: ‘Poorly considered’
“I am concerned about the apparent lack of ‘boots on the ground’ in considering the alternatives here and the poor appreciation of the impact the proposed plans have on our towns,” he added.
“The town suffers from chronic parking problems and there is little consolation in the current proposals that it will not simply get worse.
“The consultation that was promised many months ago has finally been put online and in my opinion is poorly considered.
“It offers little option to really engage with local opinion and frankly appears to be designed to ‘steer’ respondents down a predetermined path.
“This is not a satisfactory process and it needs to be urgently reviewed.”
The plans have led to concerns over the future of Kilcreggan’s 125-year-old B-listed pier, as Helensburgh pier was neglected by the council when it was no longer used by ferries and closed to mariners in 2018.
Tom Walker, who started the Save Kilcreggan Pier Facebook group which now has almost 1,000 members, said: “The survey produced by Mott MacDonald and the council was released with errors. The cards used are out of date.
“The plans are unimaginative and risk the town’s environment forever.
“A 500-foot seawall and city-scale pontoon and covered gangways are presented to the town through a faulty survey and fictitious maps.
“The second longest wooden pier in the world in Busselton, Western Australia, has been renovated and restored for $27 million.
“I’m not sure why this project here would cost in the region of £12 million, especially when Busselton Pier is over 6,000 feet long. I’m sure our pier can be future-proofed for the price of the new pontoon!
“The council missed an opportunity to link Kilcreggan Helensburgh and Gourock with two 28 meter vessels.
“This will allow more appropriate infrastructure to be built, in both Kilcreggan and Helensburgh.”
Three new ferries are planned to serve both Kilcreggan and Dunoon and the consultation documents state that the Dunoon vessels – the design for which was rejected by the public in an earlier consultation – will be 40 metres, while the Kilcreggan is ‘likely’ -boat will be 28 meters.
The document says the new Kilcreggan boat is ‘expected to be in service from November 2025’, but Transport Scotland documents released following a Freedom of Information request show the current vessel, the MV Chieftain, is expected to 2032 will be in service.
The cost of the three new boats has doubled in the last two years to £19.5m, and the Transport Scotland documents state that there is no funding allocation for this.Appendix A (1) (1) (1)
Cllr Irvine added: “The reality is that the ferry service to all our communities must remain a priority as it supports our local economy and provides an important piece of connectivity.
“But the views of local residents and businesses must be considered and it appears that the preferred option (4a) is the default position even before the survey and any local consultation has taken place.
“Contrast the process with the one carried out in Dunoon and it is clear that here we are treated as the less important part of the transport equation.
“Gourock and Dunoon need bigger boats, Kilcreggan does not and such radical and expensive solutions being proposed seem out of step with the stated preference for Kilcreggan to continue to be serviced mainly by the smaller 28m vessel.
“Above all we need to maintain a ferry service, but there also needs to be a compromise solution that protects the character of our peninsula while providing an efficient service.”
The consultation is on the council’s website.