Last December’s storm surge and the 1948 floods saw Eyemouth’s harbour road flooded and the possibility of it happening again will impact on development plans.
Harbour Road and the harbourside at Eyemouth is seen as key to the economic development of the fishing port and Scottish Borders Council is working on a drawing up a development plan for the area.
It’s envisioned that the area - Harbour Road, Church Street and Manse Road - would be used for housing, retail, small-scale food provision, office and other commercial buildings or attractions. It would also include “the creation of an active frontage on Harbour Road which exploits the waterfront location”.
A recent consultation process on the area’s proposed development plan brought in four responses - one from SEPA and another from the council’s own flood risk team focusing on the most recent flooding incident.
SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) wants more information to be gathered on the flood events of 2013 and 1948 and is unlikely to support a change of use in the area to houses.
The council’s flood risk team agrees that any redevelopment would need to be resilient to flooding, with residential premises located on first floor levels or with floor levels above the flood level. Further flood resilience for existing buildings will also need to be investigated.
One local resident who responded to the 12 week consultation was concerned that the area should be retained as a working harbour, saying: “Visitors should be able to see Eyemouth for what it is, friendly, unpretentious and hard-working.”
The development plan envisaged fish processing businesses moving away from the Harbour Road area of the town to Gunsgreen, “so that in turn the potential of the harbourside could be better realised with development of a coherent mixed use scheme.”
The owner of the A-listed Chester House, also responded, wanting his points about the provision of parking at the house to be taken into consideration in future plans.
Once Scottish Borders Council approves the guidance plan for the Harbour Road area, it will be used to determine future planning applications for the area covered.
The relocation of fish processessing companies has the agreement of the majority of owners, recognising the business opportunities it would provide, and EU regional funding grants would be sought to cover relocation costs.