Transport Minister Keith Brown Visits Maybole
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   Visit by Transport Minister Keith Brown    |    Sound West Broadcast following Visit     |     Visit by First Minister Alex Salmond

See also other pages for  Council Leader Bill Mcintosh walkabout  |   Bypass Website   |  Carrick Academy YouTube ByPass Video

The Scottish Government’s Transport Minister Keith Brown was in Maybole on Wednesday July 13 to discuss progress on a bypass for the town. Mr Brown was in South Ayrshire looking at some road improvements south of Girvan and stopped off in Maybole with local MSP Adam Ingram to see for himself what the High Street was like and to hear the comments of local campaigners.


While the meeting was underway, the High Street was in chaos as traffic jammed the road and vehicles had to go onto pavements, reverse down one way streets the wrong way and generally behave in all the ways that local residents have come to despair of. Unfortunately, the Minister missed all this but will be made aware of it. According to later information Mr Brown seems to have been impressed with the strength of feeling and detail that was shared with him by the Maybole representatives.


In a statement he added, “We also recognise the importance of the Maybole Bypass to both Maybole residents and businesses as well as the wider links to the Loch Ryan Ports and will look for opportunities to progress it when funding becomes available.” He was welcomed by Peter Mason, chair of Maybole Bypass Committee, who thanked him for visiting Maybole to see first hand the traffic situation in the town. He also welcomed Adam Ingram, MSP, and thanked him for all his work in presenting and supporting the case for a Maybole bypass.


Chris Savage provided some background information, including the fact that a Maybole bypass has been on the agenda for a considerable time stretching back at least to the 1970s and produced a plan for a bypass drawn up in the days of Strathclyde Regional Council. Mr Savage added, “The current action plan for the A77 would appear to have a less beneficial impact in terms of effective traffic flow and economic benefit to the whole area than would the creation of a Maybole bypass” and presented a number of statistics relating to comparative costs and benefits.


David Kiltie had prepared a leaflet tracing the case for a Maybole bypass and the progress towards its realisation. He highlighted the long history of the campaign for a bypass and several promises regarding its construction; the importance of a bypass in creating an atmosphere conducive to tourism; the fact that Maybole High Street is substantially unchanged since the time of Robert Burns and before, but that traffic and the nature of traffic has changed beyond all recognition.


He said the case for a bypass has the full support of South Ayrshire Council, who have provided a letter of support, and went on to outline the significant economic and environment impact on Maybole; the fact that a bypass has all party support and will therefore attract little if any political objections; the proposed route for a bypass would cause little disruption to traffic flow whereas the proposals in the action plan for the A77 would cause significant disruption; the savings that will result for hauliers and other road users in terms of reduced journey times; the fact that damage to the environment impacts on the most vulnerable groups hardest; the problems associated with Smithston Bridge where HGVs have to move into the middle of the road to get through thus creating danger for traffic coming in the opposite direction; and the problems of lorries mounting the pavement in the High Street to get past as there is no alternative if grid-lock is to be avoided. Little did he know that just outside this was happening as he was speaking!


Adam Ingram MSP commented on the 30% increase in HGV traffic which is anticipated with the introduction of the new Stenna ferries. Peter Mason commented on the need to consider accident statistics beyond Maybole itself since the relatively low level of accidents in the town reflected the high level of awareness of the dangers of traffic on the High Street on the part of its residents and the decision taken by many of them not to use the High Street. This contrasts with the high accident rate at sites such as Smithston Bridge. Mr Mason also raised concerns over the refusal on the part of Transport Scotland to grant permission to install additional pedestrian crossings, speed limits, traffic calming etc on the grounds that the A77 is a Euroroute.


The Minister asked for clarification to be sought about these restrictions and expressed his appreciation of having the opportunity to meet, to hear of and to see problems in the town. He said he recognised that the case for a bypass had been made and accepted, and outlined the difficulties associated with the current financial restrictions and reduction in capital budget. Mr Brown emphasised that these are austere times and questioned why a decision was not taken to go ahead in times of “greater bounty”. In terms of timescale, even if money became available immediately, he was unclear as to how much time it would take to complete all preparatory work prior to the start of construction work on a bypass.


In response to a question about what Community Council can now to do to push the case for a start to the bypass he said, “Securing funding is the first stage. A spending review will be carried out over the summer and information will be released on budgets in the autumn.   “Although some borrowing powers have been granted to the Scottish Parliament these are very limited but this is a start.” He added that the meeting with him had been invaluable but there was a need to continue to raise questions and highlight the issue. “Work with Adam Ingram,” he continued, “to ensure that the issue is kept alive and questions are raised in Parliament, particularly subsequent to the financial review.


“The case for a bypass is a strong one; we will be looking at the next stage and talking to Transport Scotland about prioritising work and we will keep all parties informed.” Adam Ingram commented on the possibilities offered by having borrowing powers and on possible prioritisation of smaller projects such as the Maybole bypass. Keith Brown commented that the problem with prioritisation is that it creates expectations which it may not be possible to meet.


He stated that full advantage will be taken of the new borrowing powers and indicated that additional monies may become available as a result of looking at alternative ways of funding capital projects. He emphasised the importance of Maybole continuing to work closely with Adam Ingram to ensure that the bypass is at the head of the queue should funding become available.David Kiltie asked what could be done now to save time when funding is eventually available. The Minister said that he would seek information from Transport Scotland regarding the detailed design for the bypass and the completion of the statutory processes.


Peter Mason closed the meeting by thanking the Minister, Adam Ingram and Transport Scotland for taking the time to visit Maybole to meet and contribute to what had been an excellent meeting. He also thanked all Community Council members for their attendance and contributions.

Sound West Broadcast after the meeting in Maybole - text and audio clips.

The Maybole bypass is a project worth investing in according to a Government minister. Transport Minister Keith Brown's been visiting the town to see why the road upgrade's needed. Mr Brown met with the Maybole Bypass Committee to hear their concern's about the heavy traffic flow in the area. He says it's clear there needs to be a change.....
audio Minister Keith Brown

The Transport Minister's been visiting Maybole to see first hand the traffic problems in the town. Keith Brown met with the Maybole Bypass Committee to hear their concerns and what they want to see happen. Mr Brown admitted the project is worth investing in but, funding it would be the biggest problem. David Kiltie Chair of Maybole Community Council wants to see the initial stages get underway.....
audio David Kiltie

A local campaign group have welcomed the visit of the Transport Minister to Maybole. Keith Brown met the Maybole Bypass Committee as they continue to lobby for an upgrade to the road. Currently large lorries drive through the narrow town everyday causing traffic congestion and pollution. Chairman of the group Peter Mason's hopeful progress is being made....
audio Peter Mason

A BYPASS for Maybole has moved up the political agenda again. Transport minister Keith Brown has agreed to meet with campaigners fighting for major road improvements to the town. The moved comes after the issue was raised in the Scottish Parliament by Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley MSP Adam Ingram. And it follows a visit by First Minister Alex Salmond to Maybole last week. Mr Ingram explained: “I am delighted that the transport minister has accepted the invitation to come to Maybole and meet local campaigners on the issue. “The visit will give him a chance to see for himself just how vital a bypass is for the local area. “The First Minister has already indicated that acquiring borrowing powers from Westminster could provide a potential solution to the current problem.” Mr Salmond was in Maybole to tour the town’s biggest employer, SAS International. Mr Ingram pointed out that the firm’s operation’s manager John Gemmell also added his voice to the case for a bypass around to town. He added: “In voicing his support, the First Minister also emphasised to Mr Gemmell and Peter Mason, chairman of the Maybole bypass committee, the budgetary constraints the Scottish Government faces with regards to capital projects, but stated that securing additional borrowing powers from Westminster could provide a potential solution.” And he went on: “A review of the priority status of the bypass project is now essential with traffic flows on the A77 set to increase by up to 30 per cent as a consequence of the new Irish ferry services becoming operational this year. “I am hopeful that we can persuade the minister to look again at the case for a bypass for Maybole and utilise any extra borrowing powers which may arise from negotiations with Westminster to pay for the project. “I look forward to welcoming him to Maybole.”

See also article by Stuart Wilson - Ayrshire Post. Alex Salmond in Re-writing History and the Bypass website at