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Community council rejects Rothesay ferry consultation idea

Bute Community Council has decided not to seek the views of island residents on a suggestion that Rothesay's ferry link in winter should be with Gourock, rather than Wemyss Bay. The suggestion has been made after more than a month of severe disruption to ferry services throughout the Clyde and Western Isles: here MVs Bute and Argyle are seen stormbound at Rothesay pier on the morning of December 5.

Bute Community Council has decided not to seek the views of island residents on a suggestion that Rothesay's ferry link in winter should be with Gourock, rather than Wemyss Bay. The suggestion has been made after more than a month of severe disruption to ferry services throughout the Clyde and Western Isles: here MVs Bute and Argyle are seen stormbound at Rothesay pier on the morning of December 5.

 

Bute Community Council has flatly rejected the idea of consulting the island’s residents over a suggested change to the Rothesay ferry timetable.

BCC’s new secretary, Mick Common, proposed at the organisation’s January meeting on Wednesday that some thought should be given to a winter ferry timetable which links Rothesay with Gourock, rather than Wemyss Bay, in the hope of providing a more reliable service.

But Mr Common’s suggestion - which would reduce the frequency of the service and approximately double the length of the crossing - was met with short shrift from the other BCC members present, who not only thought it a bad idea, but were against even canvassing the wider public for their views on the subject.

Mr Common said: “It seems fairly clear to me that there is a trade-off to be had between frequency and reliability. Most of the time, when there is a problem with the ferry service, it’s because of Wemyss Bay.

“It’s the job of the community council to convey to the authorities the views of the people of Bute and I have spoken to people who would be in favour of such a trade-off if it meant a more reliable service in the winter.

BCC’s transport spokesperson Frank Baxter said: “I would be wary of going down this route. There are a number of things we could lose by doing such a thing.”

Don Williams warned: “There is an awful lot of opinion against any such move. If we seriously suggest that the ferry goes to Gourock as a matter of course, we will lose Wemyss Bay - not just in the winter but all year.”

Mr Common replied: “The science suggests this problem is going to get worse over time. To ascertain the majority opinion of people on the island does not commit anybody to anything.

“The idea that you don’t ask people what they think because they might give you the wrong answer does not seem to me very democratic.”

When convener Grace Strong asked BCC members whether Mr Common’s suggestion should be the subject of a public consultation, Mr Common’s own hand was the only one raised in support.

* Bute Community Council might not be keen to canvass public opinion on Mr Common’s idea, but we’re quite happy to do it instead: what do you think of the suggestion that Rothesay’s ferry link in the winter should be with Gourock instead of Wemyss Bay?

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