Marina ruled out in harbour study

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Stonehaven’s Harbour Feasibility report has gone public with a commercial marina being ruled out.

The marina project was first floated back in 2013 with an estimated cost in the region of £8m. It was deemed ‘not commercially feasible’ in the study.

The feasibility study, which was commissioned by Stonehaven Town Partnership, part funded by Aberdeenshire Council and the European Fisheries Fund, was made public this week with the document available on STP’s website.

It outlined four options for the harbour having taken into account a number of factors including economics and the environment.

Problems with a marina stem from ‘geographical, topographical and developmental limitations of the Harbour’ according to the study.

It also goes onto state: “In addition to the obvious lack of potentially enabling shore side or peripheral development, it is extremely difficult to envisage how the necessary financial investment can be accessed, or more importantly, recouped.

“The limits of berth numbers, imposed by the topographical limits of the Harbour suggest that fees derived from such a development would not cover annual operating costs, without pricing them ‘out of the market’.

The challenges presented by all of the factors impacting on Stonehaven Harbour effectively preclude any realistic hope of developing a marina within its environs.”

A steering group was formed back in October 2014 with representatives from both Aberdeenshire Council and STP

STP said: “Having delivered the report, STP Trustees feel that we have fulfilled our remit and have responded to both public concerns and Aberdeen Councils request to undertake such a feasibility study. Our collective view is, that the next steps should be determined by a group consisting of the harbours key stakeholders, including but not limited too, existing bodies, such as the Harbour Advisory Group and Aberdeenshire Council.”

It is understood that key stakeholders met at a meeting last week Thursday August, 27 to discuss the next steps of the report.

Aberdeenshire Council Head of Roads and Landscape Services, Philip McKay, said: “Aberdeenshire Council was happy to part fund the initial study and will continue to work with the appropriate community groups in determining how the area can be improved with the money available.

“The details of the feasibility study will be helpful in that regard and feedback on it will be provided once the council has fully considered it.”

The report highlighted other options for Stonehaven Harbour which included, doing nothing, a mitigation plan and creating a new outer breakwater.

Of these options the ‘do nothing’ approach was not viable. The report said: “Whilst a number of submissions were made which, basically, supported this course of action, the ‘do nothing’ approach will not achieve long term sustainability for Stonehaven Harbour nor will it ensure the continued viability of its infrastructure or its operations and it would probably result in potentially catastrophic destruction of key Harbour infrastructure.”

The mitigation plan did highlight a number of remedial action due to the continuing deteriorations of the harbour noting that it was ‘increasingly liable to catastrophic destruction due to severe weather events.” Work was recommended on the outer breakwater, the south pier. the net pier, the fish pier and storm gates/booms. The cost of the mitigation plan using the bandings in the report was in the region of £4m.

In the economic appraisal the report states: “In completing the option appraisal assessment, it is clear that the ‘Do Nothing’ and ‘Do Minimum’ options are not viable options for Stonehaven Harbour. The Do Maximum Options scores highest due to its ability to ‘Safeguard the Harbour’, Support Economic Ambition’ and deliver ‘Environmental Sustainability. However, it does not score well on cost, timing and deliverability and therefore is likely to be progressed in a ‘Phased Approach’ “