CONCERNS have been raised by community groups on Cumbrae over plans for the reconstruction of the island’s ferry slip later this year.

The current slip, which was built in the 1970s, is now deteriorating and CMAL is looking to rebuild the structure 'at the earliest opportunity'.

Two options have been put to islanders, with the first to revamp the existing double width slipway in its current position and build a temporary slipway to maintain service during construction.

The second option is to build a new double width slipway around 25 metres south of the existing structure and transfer services to this once construction is complete.

The first of these has been identified as the preferred option, however the Cumbrae Ferry Users Group, which is made up of islanders from different community organisations, says the plans are not suited to the area's needs.

A spokesperson said: “We feel the current proposals fell far short of our expectation and are not considered suitable for the island.

“The scope of the project doesn’t currently consider improving the port to improve weather reliability over its 60 year lifespan and higher number of storm days due to global warming.

“The current design doesn’t take into account that an increase in storms and high wind days will have a more detrimental impact that would have been the case in the 1970s.

“Schools, hospital staff, care home workers and doctors all require reliable daily travel to and from the island, so a higher reliability service for the next 60 years is key for the community.”

The group also believes safety needs to be a bigger priority when CalMac staff scan and collect tickets along the busy road.

The spokesperson added: “Operational issues about staff and public safety are a concern as none of the initial designs make it safer for Calmac staff to scan tickets on a public road.

“Between CMAL and North Ayrshire Council there is inadequate marshalling for vehicles to improve public and staff safety.

“The concerns are that the design hasn’t considered the societal changes on Cumbrae and changes in weather conditions since that date, and therefore has not considered increased disruption.”

A phase two of the project has been unveiled by CMAL, which will include a CalMac welfare, shelter, public toilet and bike facilities.

Public consultations are set to be held in the coming months, with construction slated to begin in November.

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