the POSITIVE outcome of last Thursday’s debate of the Freight Facilities Grant at Holyrood was welcomed by the bid team behind the proposed railhead at Grangestone Industrial Estate.

Ailsa Horizons has been putting forward a bid to the FFG scheme for a railhead on the outskirts of Girvan, which they believe “has the potential to make a significant difference in South Ayrshire”.

Under budget proposals being considered by the Scottish Government, the successful grant scheme could be scrapped - jeopardising the future of the project at Grangestone.

Development Manager Stuart Lindsay said: “I went to Holyrood to hear the debate and I’m happy to say that there were supportive comments from all five parties. Nine MSPs, including representatives of the Greens, the Conservatives, the Lib-Dems, Labour and the SNP, spoke in favour of reinstating the grant scheme. No-one spoke against.

“To state the obvious, the availability of the grant is crucial to our plans for an intermodal railhead at Grangestone.

“Our proposal is unique in the UK since this will be the first time that a community-owned social enterprise has been involved in a rail freight business.

“We will plough the profits into our wider regeneration work across rural South Ayrshire.”

Mr Linsday paid tribute to the hard work of current MSP Cathy Jamieson and the SNP’s Adam Ingram who both lobbied to have the future of FFG debated in Parliament.

And he and his team are perfectly aware that despite the backing the scheme received last week there is still no guarantee that it would be kept in the budget and that they would get any money from it.

Mr Lindsay added: “I guess all that remains is for MSPs to agree where the money will come from. We won’t understimate how difficult that might prove to be.

“Certainly, we will heed the minister’s advice and keep on pushing this proposal.”

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