arran view from ardrossan

Notes from Arran Recovery Group March 12th


  • The group welcomed Sarah Baird as the Senior Island Officer in this new post. Sarah and the new position have everyone’s full support.
  • Arran 2030,Island in Balance. The new and last name change for The Island Plan.
  • Revision 8 of ‘Arran 2030,Island in Balance’, will not be complete until the 19th
  • Population decline and demographic means that we do not start in Balance. Lack of Affordable housing remains the primary cause.
  • Programmes to achieve Balance are in line with National Island Plan Objectives.
  • “COVID 19 and CalMac have a critical effect on every business. COVID 19 has had the biggest impact on Island businesses, ever.”
  • Once CO2 baseline has been established, funding will be required to drive net zero by 2030. For what and how much, to be determined.
  • Community Empowerment and the organisations and Governance that go with it, will be key to Implementing The Islands Plan and the Locality Planning Principles.


Notes from the Meeting:

Apologies from Ruth, Susan and Vicki


Welcome to Sarah Baird and Heather Gough: We have been pushing for a Senior Island Officer for years but fortunately it did not happen, until now.  With Islands legislation and implementation plan, this is the right time to create a role that combines the work of NAC, HIE and the Scottish Government.

Everybody introduced themselves to Sarah who commented that she was very happy to be in the new role and was looking forward do giving support to Arran and Cumbrae, providing a strong voice and access to available funding.


Recap on where we started and where we are: Tom

Start Point:

Began with the Arran Economic Group (AEG) in July 2019 looking at 2030 outcomes Getting historic information and then projected forward 10% increase in population and 20% tourism increase 50k traffic movements. The task was to define how to mitigate negatives and propagate positives. To ensure we were on the right track we had a public meeting in Jan 20 with more planned for March. Then COVID. Followed up by 2 survey’s 1200 respondents with over 40k separate inputs which confirmed the direction and prioritised the programmes.

Arran Recovery Group formed as a tactical group and the 2030 plan was woven into a Recovery Plan. This should now move back to the Strategic work of the AEG, with the ARG picking up on the tactical work of safely starting and optimising the economy and community.


Arran 2030, Island in Balance: Metrics

By popular acclaim the plan is now called ‘Arran 2030, Island in Balance’. I suggest this remains the name as long current members of the team are involved.

Balance will be measured using four Metrics: Quality of Life,(QoL) Gross Value Add (GVA) Population and the new metric of CO2. We have no baseline for CO2 and there will be work started to develop this. Our data for GVA growth and QoL put us in a good position. Our population data tells us that we are in an unsustainable position, economically and socially. That is, we start in a position that is NOT in balance.



To achieve the required ‘Balance’ we have identified 14 programmes that are already established or are being established and are outlined in the The Plan. These programmes broadly agree with the 13 Objectives outlined in the National Island Plan.

Conclusion: Lots of voluntary work gone into getting the plan to this place. Specific thanks to Jude and Sheila in helping to pull it together. Sarah’s arrival will help us get focussed on the priorities and making it happen. Revision 8 Concluded March 19th.

House Keeping:

Please supply updates to document in the format of the plan document. Ideally Current State, Future State, How we move from Current to Future (Programmes) with supporting metrics and timescales. All of this on one page is be really helpful. Hyperlinks to a website or detailed plan can be added for those that need more information.

Sustainable Economy:  Alastair. 

Update now lodged using Current State, Future State method.

Future state Arran is recognised as an exemplar of economic development and environmental champions who embrace 3rd sector start-ups. Feedback on matrix and the overall Plan has been congratulatory, confirming our direction of travel.

Specific points:

  • Covid and Calmac have/are critically affecting all business.
  • Business support, public transport and housing are significant issues.
  • No Arran Business Development Plan and lack of commercial development understanding
  • Ensure commercial activity is environmentally neutral in the future.
  • Set up group of doers to develop Business Development Plan, Look at funding from a sectoral view.
  • Relations with Council and Gov have improved as a result of AEG group.
  • Need to increase number HIE supported businesses Employee-owned businesses.
  • Ensure businesses have a net zero plan.
  • Need to recognise Covid has had most negative impact ever.
  • Help coming to VisitArran and Food and Drink sector from SMAS. Need to understand and engage with non VisitArran businesses.


  • Group comments
    TB: Need to understand Arran’s economy being the basis for everything else we do.
  • AD: Working Age population are being the most effected, in QoL survey (2019) no under 30’s responded about quality of live.
  • 14: Critical pillars are key to supporting each other and maintaining population.
  • Getting digital right is key to make economy work.

Transport: Bill/Claire 10 min
STPR2 Strategic Transport Projects Review will focus on land-based transport, Active and Passive. For both land and sea-based transport, equality of access is a fundamental principle that needs to be central to all plans.

Claire will focussed on land-based transport Strategy. Bill will stick with the sea-based issues on behalf of AFC.

  • Ferry Ardrossan needs to be started as quickly as possible timetabled Sept 2022.
  • Ardrossan berth would be closed by 18-19 months.
  • Glen Sannox in service Autumn 2022 update expected next month.
  • Gourock linkspan refurb now completed but needs a long-term plan.
  • Caley Isles reaches its end-of-life Gov funding allocated to replace enough vessels to cover this so aim to have 2 relatively new vessels within the next 10 years


Group comments

  • LJ : Have resilience problems been identified and is there a plan to resolve them taking account of continuing deterioration.
  • BC: Stats shared with CalMac for them to develop a mitigating plan. Asked them to reconsider effectiveness of annual maintenance programme. Hope for update at next week’s AFC Meeting.
  • NA: Booking system closed to move things over due to Covid. BC helped get it sorted.
  • BC: Terminals closed out with sailing times due to misuse by non-ferry use visitors.
  • TT: Need for separate tactical discussion around various Ferry and Demand and Supply issues ahead of opening up the Island.

Environmental Programmes: Jude

Jude commented that The Environmental sections of the plan had not changed significantly from the last revision and folks had just been getting on with it. However, to fully achieve all the goals and objectives more finance and support was needed.

  • We need a carbon audit to establish a CO2 baseline.
  • Followed by metrics and targets and probably more programmes to achieve net zero by 2030. Eco Savvy is supporting Jude in establishing the baseline.

Group Comments

CB: Food like many other areas cuts across many sectors e.g. Sustainable Economy, Health and Wellbeing etc. It needs to be included across the various programmes.

TT: Likewise, Third Sector and work of ACVS appears in several areas and needs to be included in the relevant areas.

Community Empowerment: Timothy:
Timothy has issued a paper and has received a few comments in response and much more discussion is needed. Please get in touch with Timothy if you want to be involved in this group. The issue is integrating the work of the various groups to coalesce around a plan that:

  • Recognises the NAC and NIP programmes and priorities.
  • Integrates these with the Island Priorities.
  • Creates a structure and Governance process, based on Locality Planning, that incorporates all of the above and produces/endorses a Plan for the Island.

We have all the pieces of the jigsaw to make this work. We just need some leadership help to join them together.


Group Comments

  • NA: There is some confusion and for all bodies to be properly constituted.

Community Council has been statutory body We now have Locality Planning as well

Not sure we are pushing in the same direction as we should and if we all understand each other’s roles.

  • TT: Locality Planning will be the primary way localities determine their priorities, futures and budgets. How localities organise within this framework should be determined by the Locality and the Local Authority. In keeping with the principles of Locality Planning, this should be bottom up rather than top-down process.
  • Linda: Essential that we find a way for everyone to be represented though the process and it should not be too political.
  • SB: Commented that her role is to ensure we all pull together and that we get the island plan that we all want.


Arts & Culture: Heather

  • Plan and matrix have been updated. Arran is massively creative, but infrastructure is behind, only Island that doesn’t have an exhibition centre. This would positively impact on visitor economy and wellbeing. Need an arts coordinator beyond current two days. Working towards making this full time and longer term a permanent exhibition centre.
  • Post Covid need to build back events and community engagement.


Group Comments

  • SBT – Looking at community asset transfer possibilities and exhibition centre could be part of that.


Housing– Good work by on housing. ADT at a critical point.

Digital connectivity– Andrew would like to set up a team to solidify plan. Along with ACVS and Community Council. Please contact Andrew directly.

Education – Plan updated: Outdoor Centre has been done and will be added.

What does an increasing population do to various school years?



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