Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd

Minutes of the meeting of the Portgordon Community Harbour Group held on Tuesday 25th March 2014 at 7.00pm at the Lampie Hoose, Portgordon.

Present: D Murray (Chairman)
M Smith (Vice Chairman)
K Griffin (Local Groups Representative)
L Brown (Harbour Users Representative)
W McIntosh (Director)
A McIntosh
C Hanover
R Billing (Honorary President)

Welcome and Apologies: DM welcomed everyone to the meeting and apologies were noted from Councillor M Howe and P George.

1. Minutes of previous meeting (28/01/14)

The minutes of the previous meeting, which were recently circulated and posted on the website, were approved.

2. Matters arising

Item 8. DM advised that Moray Council and the Crown Estate had yesterday provided an update on the current situation with regards to the Endeavour. It is now the intention of the Crown Estate to arrange removal and disposal of the boat once clearance from Police Scotland is confirmed.

With regards to the provision of a skip, the minute of the meeting of 30/07/13 was noted. It was agreed that as the Crown were now arranging removal of the abandoned boat they would also be asked by the Chair to carry out a more extensive tidy-up of the harbour area at the same time, particularly as the promised annual clean-up had not happened last year. It was also noted that the Community Warden had been investigating fly-tipping issues at the harbour.

Once action has been taken by the Crown to tidy-up the area the Group will review the matter again at a future meeting.

3. Damage to East Pier – Update from Crown Estate / Moray Council

The meeting noted that several members had attended a public meeting in the Lampie Hoose on 25/02/14. However, only limited information was provided by Smiths Gore at the meeting as they were still awaiting the full Engineers report and further advice from the Crown as to their intentions. Smiths Gore undertook to keep PCHG and the community up to date of any developments.

DM read out an email from Smiths Gore dated today which confirmed that they were now in possession of the Engineers report and that they were seeking an early meeting with Moray Council to discuss the matter. DM to press Smiths Gore for an update as soon as possible.

DM also read out an email he received from Moray Council earlier today which reiterated that "......the Council does have permissive powers to undertake coastal protection measures but it is under no obligation to do so". The email went on to suggest that ".........the damage to the harbour does not increase flood risk and the increased risk of coastal erosion is not considered significant at this time". The Council confirmed that they would update PCHG once the meeting with the Crown had taken place.

Despite the Council's statement noted above, DM advised that a previously published study into the harbour by Moray District Council in 1989 highlighted the importance of the east pier in respect of coastal protection and, in a letter to PCHG from Moray Council dated 15/01/04, the Council confirmed that previous works had been carried out by the Council to the east pier and ".......the Council maintains the east pier and the south wall of the inner basin as coastal protection structures". DM undertook to contact the Council regarding these previous statements and commitments.

The status of the "closed harbour" was again discussed as was the Council's "aspirations" for the harbour as noted in the Local Plan.

4. Review of PCHG Aims & Objectives / Charitable Status

Item 5 of the previous meeting was noted where it was agreed that the Group should re-examine their constitution at future meetings.

DM suggested that there may be 4 possible options the Group could consider in the future. In no particular order these were as follows:

1. Disband the Group / Company.
2. Continue as per original aims and objectives.
3. Promote the regeneration of the harbour by the Crown (or others), with ownership remaining with the Crown Estate but consider whether management and operation only could come under Community control.
4. Revise the Groups aims and objectives along the lines of "promote the regeneration of the harbour".

MS presented a draft paper, generally reviewing the achievements of the Group to date and looking primarily at option 4 above but also considering various aspects such as berthing fees, maintenance costs, dredging etc. After discussion it was agreed that MS would circulate a further paper ahead of the next meeting looking at the options in more detail.

After lengthy debate it was agreed that option 1 above would not be considered further as there was no community benefit in winding up PCHG at this time. MS therefore to report on options 2 – 4 only at next meeting.

It was also noted that any revision to the Groups aims and objectives should await confirmation of the Crown intentions and therefore changes were unlikely to come before the forthcoming AGM in May.

BM noted the success of the Three Harbours Association (Cullen, Findochty, Portknockie) in securing significant funding from the Coastal Communities Fund for their proposed sailing school project adjacent to Cullen Harbour.

5. Review of Committee Structure

It was agreed that a review of the Committee structure including numbers of Office Bearers, Directors and Quorum would follow the outcome of the review noted in item 4 above.

6. Preparation for AGM 21/05/14

DM reminded members that the Committee were required to stand down at each AGM but could be available for reselection if agreeable / nominated / elected. It was agreed to look at attracting new members to the AGM and a strategy for the AGM will be considered at the next meeting.

DM intimated that while he remained committed to supporting the work of the Group in some capacity, it is unlikely, due to other commitments, that he would wish to stand again for re-election as Chairman.

7. Treasurers Report

Acting Treasurer DM confirmed that PCHG account remained as per previous meeting at £2688.58 and the PCHG Gala account stood at £4188.90.

DM would shortly be contacting C Banks Bookkeeping to review our accounts again this year.

DM reminded members of the purpose of the previous gala events and the gala account i.e. to support the aims of PCHG. It was therefore proposed and agreed that with no gala planned for the foreseeable future the gala account would be reduced to £2000.00 and that the balance would be transferred to the main PCHG account (Action DM).

8. Local Groups Update

1. KG advised that the Lampie Hoose were still progressing their plans for a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) and that a letter of intent had been submitted.

2. MS gave an update on the website. There had been 19,542 visits in the last year. Visitor numbers were down, possibly due to the change in domain name but also because there being no gala. The recent introduction of other Facebook pages covering the village may also be a factor. However the website continues to be a vitally important resource for the Group and there are 51 active pages. The guest page has been discontinued as it attracted obscure websites etc. MS highlighted where he plans to develop the site and continue to add other items of general interest to keep the site fresh.

3. LB raised concerns about alleged comments made by Smiths Gore at the 25/02/14 meeting regarding the ongoing use of the harbour by local boat owners. The local press coverage will be reviewed to see if it covered this issue.

4. It was noted that the Village Hall had cancelled their plans for a May Day Fete at the Hall.

9. A.O.C.B

It was noted that at two Council Planning Hearings on 21/03/14 Gemma Campbell had been granted approval in principal to erect a boat shed on the east foreshore and coffee house at the ice house.

10. Future Meetings: 29/4/14 and AGM 21/5/14

The meeting closed at 20:30hrs.





Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd - registered Scottish Charity No: SC040805
Patron: Mrs Clare Russell - Lord-Lieutenant of Banffshire
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