Councillors urge Souter to appeal hovercraft ruling

Stagecoach officially launched it's innovative trial cross-Forth hovercraft service between Kirkcaldy and Portobello.  Pictured is Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter.'Picture by Jane Barlow 13/07/07

Stagecoach officially launched it's innovative trial cross-Forth hovercraft service between Kirkcaldy and Portobello. Pictured is Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter.'Picture by Jane Barlow 13/07/07

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SNP councillors have been urged to put pressure on Stagecoach boss Sir Brian Souter in a bid to save the Kirkcaldy to Edinburgh hovercraft service.

Edinburgh’s politicians rejected the proposal earlier this month, saying it would would ‘‘compromise residential amenity, public transport accessibility and parking” in Portobello where the terminal and slipway were planned.

Now councillors in Fife are hoping that Mr Souter - a well-known supporter of the SNP - will listen to members of his party and re-think his decision not to lodge an appeal.

Neil Crooks, Labour councillor for Kirkcaldy North, said: “I challenged George Kay and his SNP cronies to put pressure on Brian Souter as an SNP supporter by writing to him.

‘‘We need to think about something else to do with the site if the hovercraft isn’t going ahead. If Stagecoach is serious about Kirkcaldy then it should take down its empty garages - they are a scar on our landscape. It’s time for a positive change.”

Kirkcaldy SNP MSP David Torrance has also written to Mr Souter urging him to appeal - and he remains hopeful the project could be saved.

Mr Torrance said: “I have been speaking to SNP councillors in Edinburgh, some of whom are MSPs, and they were unaware of the amount of time and money that had been spent on the proposal in Fife. There seems to have been a lack of dialogue on the Edinburgh side.

“If they had been aware of how important the hovercraft project is to the economy of the town, I think it would have made a difference The area is badly in need of regeneration. ‘‘

‘‘That’s why I’m not giving up on the hovercraft just yet.”