St Abbs car parks stay with harbour trust

The Harbour Trust are managing the car parks at St Abbs
The Harbour Trust are managing the car parks at St Abbs

St Abbs Harbour Trust is to continue to manage the council owned car park at the harbour and retain the parking charges for the next 10 years.

There is a trust owned car park next to the Scottish Borders Council car park at St Abbs harbour and since 2010 the trust has operated the same payment and management structure for both, raising an average £25,000 a year.

This has allowed the trust to carry out maintenance and repair work at the harbour and develop a programme of improvements as well as meet car park signage and ticket machine maintenance costs. When SBC was managing the car park the cost of collecting parking fees accounted for up to 90% of the revenue.

Work has included maintenance and repairs to the harbour wall, improvements and renewals of access ladders and the timber harbour edge barriers and a £66,000 slipway improvement project which was part-financed by the European Fisheries Fund grant. All this has made the harbour a safer place for mariners and harbour visitors, and a more attractive place for the 5,000 divers who visit the harbour every year.

The current car park arrangement will come to an end in March 2017 and the harbour trust had requested a new 25 year agreement.

However, councillors at this week’s executive committee were advised that a ten year lease was more appropriate, SBC officials saying: “This will still give the trustees security of income that will enable ongoing investment in the harbour infrastructure.

“The benefits of these investments will be felt by commercial and leisure mariners, the local community and visitors to the village.

“The additional income from parking fees has put the harbour trust in a stronger financial position in the medium term, and enabled the trustees to proceed with the infrastructure improvement project at the slipway. The trustees require reserves for any emergency works that may be required following winter storms, and are planning additional investment in scheduled maintenance and improvements in 2017.”

Councillors accepted the officers’ advice and agreed to a further ten year lease by St Abbs Harbour Trust at the upper car park.