Coming Events

Visit to Paisley Coats Memorial Church

Wednesday, 28 March, 2018

Make your own way to the church on the 11:05 ferry. The church is on the High Street close to the Museum and is a 15 minute flat walk from Paisley Gilmour Street station.

Meet at the church at 1:30pm.

Further details from David Scott.



Monday, 16 April 2018
Brodick Library

All welcome


Previous Events

Monday, September 22nd 2014 7:30pm - Brodick Hall

Arran Civic Trust invited Stuart West to present a talk on Conservation and Heritage in Planning. Please click here for more details or here to see the event poster.


Tuesday, April 1st 2014 7:00pm - AGM

The 2014 AGM will be followed at 7:30pm by a talk about "Arran's Architecture" from Simon Green of RCAHMS. Please click here for more details.


July 23rd 2013 - Arran Civic Trust AGM

Please click here for the report of the 2013 AGM.


May 27th 2013 - Lamlash

The Blue Plaque for Donald McKelvie, sponsored by the Coop, was unveiled. Please click here for the report.


February 5th 2013 - Anne and Ian Hope

Knockroon, a sustainable mixed-use development.


Earlier Events

For events prior to 2013 please visit our archives page.


Welcome to the website of Arran Civic Trust. The Trust has 50 members most of whom live on Arran. Our aim is to encourage an interest in Arran's architecture both past and present. The island has buildings which are either architecturally or historically significant or both. By drawing attention to what is good in our built heritage we hope to encourage its preservation and at the same time advocate good design in our new buildings, particularly domestic housing which is greatly needed on the island.

Far from having an exclusive, specialist interest we want to bring Arran's past alive and contribute to its future by developing a public consciousness of good design. We try to do this through publications, public lectures and outings to places of interest as well as monitoring planning procedures on the island and making objections or commenting where appropriate. We work through a small committee who meet once a month. New Trust members and people with skills to contribute are welcome.

J Inglis, chairman.



!Arran Civic Trust hosted a meeting with James Anderson Director of Vessels at CMAL, and Lewis Hammell also a ship’s architect with CMAL. The new ship, built at Ferguson’s Yard, and recently launched, is now being fitted out. James explained the reasoning behind the challenge to both meet the increasing demand on the Brodick to Ardrossan route, due in part to RET, as well as to be a more fuel-efficient vessel with new technologies on board to ensure reliability. It was a fascinating illustrated talk, with enthusiastic and informed presentations from both James and Lewis.

The main hull of steel and the superstructure of aluminum is designed to meet expectations over the next 35 years service life with 1000 passengers, 34 crew cabins, and a ship capable of carrying130 cars with an open aft deck for hazardous cargo. There will be four passenger lifts from the car decks and we were assured there will be enough room to get out the cars once parked on the car decks. The Glen Sannox will be able to be used on all CalMac routes.

On the performance side, emissions will be reduced by 66%. The Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) will be stored in a tank weighing 100 tonnes and initially the LNG will come from the Isle of Grain. The ship will have 2 main engines and 3 auxiliary generators. Three bow thrusters will assist docking.

Lewis explained the layout of the ship. There will be a much larger and more comfortable medical transfer room for patient and family, even with a television. There will be five areas for passengers, fore and aft lounges on level 5, each holding 250, observation lounge on level six for 260 and 2 exterior decks, one covered for 122. Also included cafeteria and shop, video gaming area and two pet areas. Provision of a bar facility is still under discussion.

There will be much better lower windows to enable passengers to take in visual surroundings from the ship when they are sitting down, so a major improvement on the Cally Isles.

The ship we were assured will turn on a ‘sixpence’, deal with 50knots of wind and have great maneuverability. It is 102.4m long compared to the Cally Isles of 94m, so there were questions about Ardrossan. CMAL, Peel Ports and the Scottish Government are in weekly discussions about Ardrossan and potential access systems. The simulator for training is continuing to be developed and discussions about Ardrossan Harbour are on-going.

This was a fascinating insight into the new ferry due to enter service in 2019.

J Inglis, chairman.



On Monday 22nd September, Arran Civic Trust has invited Stuart West to present a talk on Conservation and Heritage in Planning. Stuart is the manager of the Development and Marine Planning function at Orkney Islands Council, where he has lived for the past eight years. He studied archaeology at Manchester University where he focused on prehistoric Britain and the Atlantic Fringe of Europe, later studying Architectural Conservation at Edinburgh College of Art and was Orkney's Conservation and Heritage Planner prior to taking on his present role in 2012. He has worked in Planning for the past ten years and is presently the joint-chair of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site Management Board and the Chair of Heads of Planning Scotland Development Planning Committee. He oversees the cyclical production and review of the Orkney Local Development Plan.

Orkney has 19 inhabited isles, a population of 21,500 in 11,400 households; 622 listed buildings, 347 scheduled monuments and 6 existing conservation areas plus 1 World Heritage site. There is a huge legacy including WW1 and WW2 sites at Scapa Flow. Orkney has strong Parish settlement communities.

There is a settlement pattern and crofting pattern with traditional rural housing. In 2010 the Local Development Plan was updated with the production of the 2010 Proposed Plan and the policies regarding the housing in the countryside were revised. Local Lists of significant structures are currently being produced. The current policy means that buildings of historic merit are no longer eligible for 1:1 replacement. Supplementary Guidance has been introduced which defines historic merit in Orkney and includes the following types of buildings and structures:

  1. Vernacular
  2. Traditional construction - natural materials: stone, earth, clay, slate and timber. In 1830 steamers started to come bringing Caithness stone and Welsh slate
  3. Non traditional buildings and structures - mainly wartime
  4. Other buildings and structures on Historic Scotland’s own statutory lists

A CORE PRINCIPLE in the supplementary guidance is that the retention and preservation of buildings, which feature on Orkney local list, will be encouraged. This should avoid demolition of significant buildings. An example is illustrated below of before and after renovation, a project, which was also a recipient of a Council Heritage Grant.

! !

Prior to the 2010 review 1:1 replacement was allowed, so many local buildings had been replaced by kit houses etc, destroying the local character. This was raised as a concern by local community groups and societies and resulted in the change in policy.

Stuart will focus on how development planning has effectively preserved cultural heritage sites in Orkney, and will examine Orkney's rich cultural heritage, from the World Heritage Site down to the buildings and structures on the local list, and will demonstrate how planning policies and guidance have been utilised to ensure that these important assets are effectively protected for the enjoyment of future generations.

Stuart’s talk is at 7.30pm MONDAY 22nd SEPTEMBER at BRODICK HALL. Anyone interested is most welcome, and there will be coffee after the talk and questions.



A letter to CMAL on behalf of the Arran Civic Trust



The Arran Civic Trust considers that the overall size of the building is excessive for our small island. The island population is falling and, although Arran is popular during the spring and summer with a small, steady flow of visitors throughout the year, the existing terminal building is easily capable of dealing with the through flow, except occasionally at peak periods. It is evident, studying the plans, that the design was originally for a much larger population. It follows that substantial cost savings could have been made by matching the design to the population.

QUESTION : Were studies made of existing and potential traffic through-flows to enable the building to be designed to an economical size?


The building design in itself is not unattractive in a modernist way. The Civic Trust, however, regards it as unsympathetic to both its site and to the island environment. Criticisms are directed in particular at the severe, rectilinear form, at the use of sandstone which weathers badly especially in upper walls and at the flat roof. Weather on Arran can be so severe that flat roofs, even with the use of modern materials, are not reliably waterproof.

QUESTION : Were the designers fully aware of weather conditions on Arran ? Would it not have been wise to consult directly with the Civic Trust and other island experts regarding the aesthetic appearance of the building?


The Trust is of the opinion that there is a fundamental design flaw in the terminal building arising apparently from the brief. This is that it requires foot passengers to climb to a height of 5.5 metres in order to enter the departure lounge. It is not clear why this decision was taken nor by whom, since it follows from the location of the car marshalling area on the seaward side of the building. This results in foot passengers having to cross the vehicle flows at two points: at the west side where vehicles enter the site and on the pier itself. Had the terminal been located adjacent to the sea, apart from offering a more attractive outlook for waiting passengers, these conflicts would have been avoided. We realise that it would have been necessary to persuade Cal Mac to berth the Ardrossan ferry on the east side of the pier rather than the west, but it is difficult to understand why this was an insuperable objection when the resulting simplification of the plan and layout would have saved so much inconvenience and money.

Internally, the plan requires foot passengers either to climb and descend 35 steps to the departure lounge, or to use the two lifts provided. The lifts, we are told, will have a nominal capacity of 13 adults, but this capacity reduces to approximately 7-8 adults with luggage, or less where there are push or wheel chairs. This is not adequate in view of the time pressures likely to be experienced in a passenger terminal. Lifts themselves are not liked by all and, in the event of routine maintenance or breakdown, capacity will be halved or reduced to zero, leaving no alternative but the stairs. CMAL’s chief engineer has stated that, in the event of breakdown, engineers would have to cross from the mainland, leading to an unacceptable delay. In the event of a power outage, a generator would have to be on stand-by, together with its fuel storage. There is no sign of the provision for this on the plans.

The long staircases, even with landings and relatively low risers, will be taxing, not only for many elderly people - over-65s comprise over 30% of the island’s population - but for young parents with push chairs and toddlers and those heavily burdened with luggage or shopping.

The departure lounge is excessively large in providing 192 seats. Often there are fewer than 50 persons waiting to board and even in high season the majority of people will not sit but stand around. It would be better therefore to halve the number of seats and provide more standing room.

You show only one WC in the men’s toilet. This is not enough in view of the large population you envisage passing through the terminal.

The walkway to the ferry from the terminal building appears to be 1.5 metres wide in each direction. This will be a problem where the speed of boarding will be at the rate of the slowest walker. There are many slow walkers and partially disabled people on Arran, not to mention the relatively young and fit hampered by trolley bags and shopping.

QUESTIONS : Were the paramount needs of foot passengers considered at the initial design stage ? Were commercial interests allowed to dominate in that whereas the provision for vehicles is excellent, foot passengers are being provided for much less well than at present? Could the number of lifts be doubled to minimise waiting times and reduce the risk of just one or no lifts being available during maintenance or in the event of breakdown?


At present there is provision for approximately 85 cars on the site, scattered in various locations. The new plan shows roughly 92 spaces, of which 51 are marked in the short stay - i.e. up to 5 days - zone. This is inadequate since, on a busy day, approximately 80-90 cars are parked in Shore Road to the west of the site. Most of these cars belong to people intending to use the ferry. Knowing that there is too little parking on site, passengers on foot will continue to park in Shore Road, but will then have to walk an additional 200 metres to the terminal building, plus a further 250 metres to board the ship. In bad weather, encumbered with trolley bags and push chairs, this is too far. Furthermore, there is no longer any provision for long stay parking, a serious oversight since it is not desirable to leave cars for a fortnight or more in Shore Road, where they would in any case reduce the provision for the short stayers.

We assume, having studied the site plan, that large vehicles approaching from Market Road, including bin lorries and service vehicles, would join the boarding stream via the road shown to the east of the terminal building and that the principal flow from Shore Road, including heavy vehicles, would follow the new access to the rear of the existing terminal building. This will create a problem for both vehicles and pedestrians arriving from Invercloy to the west, since the latter will have to wait to cross the traffic stream. This problem could have been avoided, as noted above, had the marshalling area been located to the landward side of the terminal in the area occupied by an expanded short stay car park. We hope that there will be enough capacity in the approach to the marshalling area to accommodate all vehicles waiting at the ticket barrier at peak periods. If not, queueing will take place along Shore Road to the detriment of through traffic.

It is essential for people travelling with their cars to be able to cross on foot from the marshalling area to collect or buy their tickets. There appears to be no provision for this. Nor has there been adequate consideration of the need for many arriving foot passengers to reach the Tourist Office without crossing major vehicle routes. In this respect, it might be a good idea to re-locate the Tourist Office in the existing Terminal Building, which is only 20 years old and in first class condition.

QUESTIONS : What studies were made at initial design stage of vehicle numbers likely to be using the new facility, including parking and movement? Were the needs of those leaving their cars in Brodick but travelling by ferry properly considered? What hard data were used regarding numbers of foot passengers using the ferry and how was this data used when designing the new terminal?

Arran Civic Trust


Arran Civic Trust
The wealth of artistry and craftsmanship in Arran buildings

Recently the Civic Trust published a book “Buildings of Arran” documenting interesting buildings on a circular tour of the island. It represents a small catalogue of the island’s architecture. The Trust would like to continue by photographing interesting artifacts, fittings and appliances in the interiors of Arran homes. There is a rich vein of interesting items which should be photographed before they are lost or replaced. Each year, as houses are altered, renovated and completely modernised some beautiful fittings are lost forever. They are as much a part of the island’s heritage as its architecture.

No pictureOriginal fittings of all types both decorative and functional could include door knobs, finger- plates, fireplaces, stained glass, light fittings, fitted furniture, interesting woodwork, tiles and more. Even items not original to the house but with a particular period flavour or merely an interesting “one off” would be worth recording. Many items are not “art” inspired but may be functional, durable and well made by local craftsmen. Humble items tend to be unnoticed partly because they’ve fulfilled a function for over a hundred years and yet they may be well designed and deserving of recognition.

No pictureThe Trust would like to photograph these and document them with a short description. To do this we’d appreciate the help of Arran people by informing us of anything worth recording and offering us the chance to photograph it. In any publication individual houses would not be identified and confidentiality assured.

You can see some more of the pictures on the "Projects" page.

If you’d be willing to let us photograph in your home (or you may be able to photograph things yourself and send them on) please get back to the Trust through me 810659 or or the address below.

John Inglis (chairman)
Red House
High Corrie




Last site update:-

2018-03-23 22:32

The Arran Civic Trust is a registered Scottish charity, number 023504 and is affiliated to The Scottish Civic Trust