Minute of meeting 30th July 2013

Portgordon Community Harbour Group Ltd
www.portgordonharbour.org

Minutes of the meeting of the Portgordon Community Harbour Group held on Tuesday 30th July 2013 at 7.00pm at the Lampie Hoose, Portgordon.

Present:

D Murray (Chairman)
R Billing (Honorary President)
M Smith (Vice Chairman & Website Co-ordinator)
K Griffin (Local Groups Representative)
L Brown (Harbour Users Representative)
W McIntosh
Councillor Margo Howe
Stuart Donald
Alistair Clark
Kevin Greensill
Pringle George
Robert Lacamp
Alexander Bruce

Welcome and Apologies: DM welcomed everyone to the meeting, particularly several new guests. Apologies were received from R Thomson and A Hunter.

1. Minutes of previous meetings (16/04/13 and 22/5/13 AGM)

The minutes of the above meetings, which were circulated previously and posted on the web, were approved.

2. Matters arising

There were no matters arising but for the benefit of new attendees DM was asked to give a brief history of the Group and its aims and objectives. It was noted that the responsibility for the harbour remains with the harbour owners, the Crown Estate.

3. Appointment of new Directors / Trustees / Committee

The names of the 3 existing Directors (Messrs Billing, Thomson and Murray) and the 2 new Directors appointed at the AGM (Messrs McIntosh and Kippen) were noted. Personal details need to be forwarded to Companies House by DM. (Post meeting note – DMcI details now lodged with CH. DK details still to be obtained by DM and lodged with CH).

Guidelines on the duties of Directors and Trustees were summarised and can be found in more detail on the CH and OSCR websites.
It was noted that the positions of Treasurer and Local Business Representative remain unfilled and the Group were still seeking nominations for these positions.

4. Treasurers Report

DM has continued to oversee the Groups accounts until a new Treasurer was appointed. The Annual Report and Financial Statements prepared by our accountants were available for viewing at the meeting and the report will shortly be submitted to CH and OSCR by the accountants.

The bank accounts were currently standing at £2787.89 (PCHG) and £4187.63 (Gala). There has been little change from the previous meeting other than depositing website sponsorship cheque and the takings from the recent word quiz.

It was noted that a donation had still to be made to the Lampie Hoose as per previous years for the use of the building for meetings etc.

It was also reported that since there has been no gala or other events the Group have been without any public liability insurance or insurance of the gala equipment held in storage.

5. Ghurkha Plaque

No progress had been made with the erection of the new plaque by DM due to time constraints and therefore LB undertook to source a mason and build the plinth between the notice board and the life-belt with stone similar to the existing interpretation panel as per previous discussions. Action LB

It was agreed that the Group would look into some form of unveiling ceremony and possible guests to carry this out were considered.

LB has carried out the refurbishment of the existing plaque on the west pier which has been complimented by several locals and visitors.

6. Harbour clean-up / Harbour Improvements

The above item was discussed in detail as part of the harbour users report (see below).

7. Harbour Users Report

LB presented his report and the following issues were noted. Discussion and any outcome on the issues raised are summarised in italics.

a) The Harbour Users noted the following comments on the website:

"Our Position is that we are a group looking to buy and manage the harbour as a Trust."

"We have in the past facilitated the removal of stones from the harbour entrance channel and will continue, so far as we are able, to assist users where appropriate by making representations to the Crown."

"Portgordon Harbour is showing signs of neglect and without maintenance it will go into decline."

b) There are several pictures on the website of a clean harbour and the gala etc but it doesn't show the real picture of the poor conditions and the old boats making the place looking like a boat scrap yard.

This was noted and it was agreed to show photographs of the old boats as part of the campaign to get things tided up. Action MS

c) There was a good offer for work to be done at the cost of basic materials supplied by the Group but it was felt that this faced strong opposition at the AGM.

It was highlighted that in the minutes of the AGM it states that "any proposals suggesting a way forward should be brought to future meetings for discussion in more detail. RB noted that the mandate received from the village at previous public meetings was to try and progress the full regeneration project and that financial donations have been received on that basis. Donations were not specifically given for carrying out minor repairs to what remains in the meantime is a Crown Estate harbour and all responsibility continues to rest with them. Nevertheless further discussion will be welcome on this issue at future meetings. Action – agenda item for next meeting.

d) Why has the erection of the "Ghurkha Replica Plaque" taken so long to build?

See item 5 above.

e) The "Life Rings" given from the MFV Solstice BF56, why have these not been installed yet within the harbour as safety is a big issue within a harbour.

The concern raised by the MFV Solstice over the delay was acknowledged but the two life rings have been in storage awaiting a volunteer to erect them. Immediately after the meeting LB uplifted the rings from storage and kindly agreed to arrange fabrication of brackets followed by installation.

f) LB indicated that he undertook the position as "Harbour Users Rep" and with this role he undertook it as the "Harbour Master", assisting lads with the berths of their boats and listening to the problems within the harbour itself.

While PCHG are happy to listen to the views of the harbour users and assist and advise where appropriate, it was reiterated that the responsibility for the harbour remains with the Crown and that PCHG have no jurisdiction over berths, moorings etc. MS commented that he occasionally receives requests for berths through the website but these are referred directly to the Crown.

g) The group want to be heard and be seen doing improvements and doing what they set out to do 10 years ago and it seems very little has been done. If the group was to pay the fee of £100 plus V.A.T for the hire of a skip to tidy up the area a skip of 19.6 feet in length and the possibility of holding 3 tonnes of rubbish, the Boat Owners are willing to assist in the clear up of the rubbish and old boats within the area. We could also be helped out by Moray Council if they would waive the tipping charges.

After lengthy discussion of this issue the following actions were agreed:

• Further attempts will be made to establish contact with the owners of the old boats (Endeavour and BCK 184) MH and DM to follow up.
• Following approval in principle from the Crown (received at a recent site meeting) further contact will be made with the Crown to see what work they can do and when with regards to the tidy up and provision of a skip. DM to action.
• It was agreed that should the Crown not support the costs of providing the skip that PCHG would fund this themselves.
• It was agreed to issue a press release to local papers highlighting the issues and notifying abandoned boat owners of our plans – Action DM
• It was agreed to publicise the issue on the website – Action MS
• It was agreed that stickers indicating "Boat Owner Aware" be provided by LB and would be posted on the boats and other abandoned fishing gear and a formal notice will be posted on the harbour notice board - Action LB.
• It was agreed to follow up on requests to Moray Council to waive tipping charges – Action DM.
• It was agreed to ask Moray Council if they would provide an industrial size skip foc for the use of harbour users – Action DM.
• Post meeting note – the following day MH contacted the Council's Environmental Health Section raising concerns about the abandoned boats. A Community Warden visited the harbour (and met with LB) and confirmed that the Council would take action themselves to contact the boat owners and take enforcement action as necessary including arranging the disposal of these boats. Therefore most of the above noted actions for PCHG are on hold pending further developments.
h) There was also an idea of advertising the free to uplift of the stones within the harbour. It was suggested that an advert could be submitted to Aberdeen Northern Markets at Thainstone requesting that interested parties get in touch.

It was noted that the Crown approved the removal of stones in the past (2 years ago) and had recently indicated that any further request would be considered favourably. DM has spoken to the previous contractor who was giving consideration to carrying out the exercise again. LB was given the previous contractors contact details and LB agreed to follow this up. It was noted that the Crown are likely to require an outline method statement in advance from any potential contractor including proposed dates/times, plant to be used and methods to be adopted etc.

i) It was agreed that PCHG and all the harbour users needed to continue working together for the long term good of the harbour.

8. Website / Social Media Report

MS provided the following report on the website.

The new website came on-stream in April at which time the site that we used for the past six years closed. The transition from old to new was not without challenges, in particular loss of the domain name for a few weeks while the transfer was taking place, and there remains more work to be done. The new site is working well and is providing better navigation and performance than the old one. Feedback has been encouraging and continuous development will only add to visitor experience as the Harbour Group endeavour to bring Portgordon Harbour and the possibilities it offers to a wider audience. New site averaging 1,837 visitors a month. MS also tabled a graphical report indicating the year on year increases in visitors to the website since 2006.

9. Local Groups Report

KG reported on a welcome increase in the awareness and use of the Lampie Hoose for meetings and events in recent weeks.

10. Fundraising Report (Major and Local Fundraising)

It was reported that there has been no progress with major fundraising and volunteers from the Group were required to progress this matter and the updating of the business plan etc. DM offered to assist any volunteers that came forward but he indicated that he was unable to take a lead on this at present.

It was noted that the recent word quiz had received 86 entries with an income of £43 and the £5 prize went to Mrs M Stewart of Cullen. Further word quizzes are being planned for the future.

11. Proposed development of the east foreshore

It was noted that the owner of the foreshore, Ms Gemma Campbell, had now submitted 2 planning applications for the east foreshore which include solar arrays, new housing, a café, boat-yard and garages. The issue has been the subject of widespread media coverage recently and there has been numerous meetings between concerned residents and local Councillors and with the local MSP Richard Lochhead, held earlier today.

Mrs George and Mr Lacamp are members of a local action group that has been formed and they provided the meeting with an overview of the proposals and of the concerns raised by many in the community. Full and detailed information can be found on the Council's website and the closing dates for comments were noted.

The meeting discussed the issues of the environmental impact of the proposals and the possible community benefit that may arise. After lengthy discussion it was agreed that it would be appropriate for PCHG to lodge an objection to both planning applications (action DM).

Should the site ever come on the market again the action group were considering forming a Trust with a view to a community type buy-out and were looking into what assistance the Scottish Land Fund could offer.

12. Village Hall Update

It was noted that the Village Hall held their AGM on 1st May 2013 and that a new Committee had been formed. DM has had a brief discussion with one of the new Committee members and further discussions are planned regarding their proposals for the hall.

13. A.O.C.B

Membership forms were distributed to several guests who attended the meeting and 3 new members were confirmed.

14. Future Meetings:

Next PCHG Meetings: 24/9/13, 26/11/13, 28/1/14, 25/3/14, 29/4/14, AGM 21/5/14 (all meetings at 7.00pm in Lampie Hoose except AGM 7.30pm)

The meeting closed at 20:45hrs.

END

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