£9.6m plans for ‘Kilcreggan Harbour’ were rejected by nearly three-quarters of the people who took part in a consultation last year.
And only 14% were in favour of ‘Option 4A’ – the preferred solution of a large pontoon and breakwater to be used by new ferries as part of a £70m project also encompassing Dunoon and Gourock.
The consultation closed last March, but the results have only now been made public after a series of Freedom of Information requests.
The preferred design, drawn up by consultants Mott MacDonald for Argyll and Bute Council, was revealed in January 2022 and led to a storm of protest, with a group being formed to save Kilcreggan’s historic pier amid fears for its future if it was no longer used by ferries.
When an online consultation was launched it was criticised by councillors and had to be reworded twice, with people initially being asked if they were from Kilcreggan, Rosneath or a ‘non-Dunoon-Cowal resident’.
The council repeatedly refused requests for the survey results to be made public, even though the results of a similar exercise in Dunoon – where the preferred option was also rejected – were released after a few weeks.
The data has finally been released however, after a new request which cited precedent from the Court of Session’s decision in December relating to an investigation into former First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
It shows a total of 550 responses, compared to 222 for the Dunoon consultation.
Asked ‘Do you agree with the proposed preferred option 4A?’, 410 , or 74.5%, said No, with 78 replying Yes and 62 Don’t Know.
In releasing the information, the council said: “Our current understanding is that no decisions have yet been made by the Scottish Government/Transport Scotland on the vessel replacement programme, therefore, Argyll and Bute Council has no work progressing on the project at present.
“In terms of the consultation, its findings and the next steps for our infrastructure, we cannot move forward until we know what the intentions are with the wider programme.
“Once that project restarts, depending on the time that has passed and/or any changes in the vessel plans, it seems likely that we will revisit this consultation with further public engagement.
“We continue to liaise with Transport Scotland regarding this and other marine infrastructure projects, and will let you know when we are advised that the project is restarting.”
A total of 547 responses were submitted online, with three people competing a hard copy survey which was available in Cove Community Library.