Ferry fears spark protest at historic Kilcreggan Pier

Protest on Kilcreggan Pier. Photo courtesy of Nigel Reid-Foster The protest over the future of a local ferry service was held on the 115-year-old Kilcreggan Pier

More than 400 people have protested at a historic pier in Argyll amid fears for the future of a ferry service.

Villagers in Kilcreggan, on the Rosneath Peninsula, warned that the Gourock-Kilcreggan-Helensburgh service was at risk after Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) announced changes earlier this year.

They were also protesting over staff redundancies at Kilcreggan Pier.

They said the 115-year-old wooden pier would be unmanned for the first time.

SPT agreed to change the provider of the service in January from Clyde Marine Motoring to Clydelink.

It was announced at the time that Clydelink would use a new purpose-built ferry and that the deal would save more than £190,000 a year.

Boat change

Local people have been told that the plans for a new boat have now been dropped, raising fears over whether the service - which is used by school pupils, students and workers from Coulport and Faslane naval bases - can continue.

Clydelink has instead purchased the Island Princess, a former pleasure boat which is smaller and slower than the current Seabus ferry. The vessel can only accommodate 40 passengers under cover.

Argyll and Bute Council has also issued redundancy notices to three staff who work at the pier.

Jackie Baillie, MSP for nearby Dumbarton, called for SPT to extend the current contract with Clyde Marine Motoring, suspend the contract with Clydelink and reopen the tendering process.

She said: "It is impressive that over 400 people turned out in support of their ferry service."

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