Subscribe to our newsletter here

Minutes of a meeting of Directors held on Thursday 8th April  2021

Because of the coronavirus, this meeting was held remotely via Zoom.



Alasdair Swan (Chair); Alastair Cook; Dave Dunbar; Paul Ingram; Tania King; 

Kenny Maule; David Nairn; Eric RobertsonYvonne Wemyss 


Quentin Dimmer 


Apologies: Paddy Crerar; John Williams




1 Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 11th March  2021 were approved.

Matters completed –

  1. Broadband service has been upgraded which will allow proper access so that the harbour users can keep an eye on their boats remotely.
  2. Advertising consent for the Belhaven Lobsters has been applied for.
  3. The fuel leak was recorded in the incident log.
  4. The Seal platform risk assessment has been completed.
  5. The approach to the Windpower company confirmed that funding for the communities will go through local community councils and is primarily directed towards small local community groups, not major infrastructure projects.

Matters still in progress –

  1. Neither the application for advertising consent, nor the planning permission have been registered. The Trust has supplied the additional information that the Planning Department has asked for.
  2. The lighthouse for donations. Micky Mcloughlin is coming up with a proposed design for the Board’s consideration.

2. Election of the Officers

Chair……………………………Alasdair Swan

Vice Chair……………………. Paul Ingram

Company Secretary…….Alasdair Swan

A warm welcome was extended to Dave Dunbar, Tania King and David Nairn who have all joined the Board of Directors.

Companies House will be notified of the appointment of the new Directors, following the meeting.                        

3. Port Marine Safety Code

Incident Log Review

One minor Incident was reported in March which was referred to in the last minutes:

  • Fuel in Harbour

The source was suspected to be a trawler. All trawler skippers have been reminded of their obligations by the harbourmaster.

One crime incident was reported:

  • Graffiti on Fishermen’s monument. The paint was taken from the boat being worked on in old harbour, owned by John Buchan

John Buchan has been reminded of the need to secure items on his boat. 

CCTV footage was reviewed but the view was obscured by fishing vessels at high tide and the camera angle  was too low. The matter has been discussed with local residents and the camera angle will be raised to capture the whole of the monument.

The matter has been reported to the police who have stepped up patrols of the area.

Dave Dunbar was appointed the Director in charge of reviewing the cases of criminal activity and participating in the CAPP monthly meetings whenever there is anything relevant to table and discuss with the police.

Risk Assessment Review

The following risks were assessed –

  1. Technical failure of a vessel causing collision with the quayside.
  2. Technical failure of a vessel causing grounding.
  3. Technical failure of a vessel causing collision with another vessel.
  4. Seal platform

No changes were recommended to the current assessments, and it was noted that there have been no incidents over the last year under any of the first three categories. The last recorded incident was when Spitfire experienced technical problems after having an engine fitted, so the meeting was reminded that these risks are still very real.

The seal platform risk assessment was adopted. It was agreed that all directors would be vigilant to see that behaviour around this activity complies with the safe method of working. This should be a very popular (and safe) addition to the harbour activities,

4 Finance Report

A. March management accounts:

The March report had been circulated prior to the meeting.

  1. There was a Surplus of £598 in the month of March
  2. The grant income of £82,000 needs to be read in conjunction with the project costs of £80,000 to which it relates.
  3. The commercial activity in the harbour was a little better than in March 2020.
  4. The Services income is for PAT testing which has been recovered from the McArthur’s Store tenants.
  5. The cost of licences relates to the planning application, application for advertising consent and registration with the Information Commissioner’s Office.
  6. Maintenance and Repair costs included the annual servicing of the alarm systems, a replacement fuel pipe and nozzle, new parts for the notice board and electrical repairs around McArthur’s Store.
  7. There are no credit control problems to report.
  8. Landing fees are returning to normal levels which is encouraging for both the harbour and the local fishermen.
  9. For the benefit of the new directors, it was pointed out that the fuel net income of 2.5p/l is raised to maintain and, as has happened this month, replace the fuel dispensing equipment and tank. The McArthur’s Store rental income, net of all related expenses, is placed in a Restricted Fund to cover the major repair and refurbishment costs of the Building. 
  10. An analysis of all the Harbour Trust funds, restricted, designated and unrestricted will be sent to the Board before the next meeting.

B. Replacement van:

It was agreed that Eric  will work with Quentin to source an appropriate van – it was suggested that the fishermen may know where a reliable vehicle can be found -  and a decision will be taken on-line to procure a harbour van, once a recommendation has been circulated to the Board.

C. Year-end accounts

These will be drawn up before the end of April and submitted to Whitelaw Wells for an independent examination.

5. Harbour Management Committee

The condition of the harbour chains was raised at the meeting. The harbourmaster is keeping a photographic record of these chains and will highlight when they are approaching the end of their lives.

The Committee considered various improvement ideas and the following will be added to the Harbour Improvement Plan, to be actioned when and if funds permit.

  1. Extra ladders – DHMC asked to be more specific as to exactly where they would want these ladders introduced, with a marked up map.
  2. Further branders – it will be easier to introduce these by the telescope, along the Broadhaven end of the Cromwell Harbour, rather than along the coal hirst. Clarification will be helpful as to which boats would moor there and why this would be of benefit to the user and/or the Trust.
  3. An extra power point at Cromwell Harbour. Again, it will be helpful to know the cost/benefit analysis, as the existing supply is not heavily used.

The next harbour walkabout will take place on 3rd  May. A report will be provided in advance of the Board meeting to be held Thurs 14th May 2021. Anyone who would like to help with this exercise should contact Yvonne by the end of April.

The storage bunkers beside the South Pier will now be subject to formal licence agreements, taking into account the priorities facing the Trust. The storage capacity will be reduced when the toilets are built, as one bunker will be taken out of use.

It was agreed that the electrics around the cold store should be made safe by burying the cables properly in earthworks.

Three rusting trailers have been left beyond the Maggie stores. One is associated with Heron, and the harbourmaster will take action to have both the trailer and the boat removed from the harbour. Payment for mooring charges have always been late, and, more importantly, no insurance certificate for the boat has ever been provided.

The removal of the trailers will require the co-operation of AG Thomson.

Concern was expressed that these trailers might be dumped on the Common Good land but, should this be the case, the Trust will work with East Lothian Council to have them removed, as it is neither fair on the harbour residents or those who use the space positively and constructively.

The ownership of the ladder found leading up to the Maggie is uncertain. It was agreed that it should be placed securely inside a Harbour Trust store until the owner is identified.

An examination of the North Wall at low tide has confirmed the need for repairs and Robin Hamilton has lodged an expression of interest with Marine Scotland for Emergency Wall Repairs.

Some yacht owners are commenting that the chain to which their mooring is attached is covered in sand and cannot be inspected.

The harbourmaster pointed out that best practice is to raise all of the chains on a regular basis so that they can be physically inspected and certified. There is a very high cost in doing this, followed on by the inevitable cost of replacing chains because a certificate will not be issued where there is any sign of damage or corrosion. This is a cost that would need to be passed on to the owners of the boats on these moorings. The matter will be referred to the Sailing Club and if their members feel that this exercise is essential/necessary/ desirable the harbourmaster will devise a plan for raising the chains, cost the operation (and the likely cost of certification and replacement chains), and work out what the cost per boat will be in Victoria Harbour. This exercise may then need to be repeated for the Broadhaven and Cromwell Harbour.

In previous years,  the view has been taken that chains buried under sand are more secure and less liable to corrosion, and that moving them would risk damage and be counter-productive. The inspection of chains that are visible by knowledgeable members of the Sailing club has been considered to be sufficient. 

6. Retail

Big Blu Sea

Chris Percy Davis has received planning approval. He hopes to be onsite shortly after the boats crane-in on 9th April 2021. The draft operational contract has been shared with him. Legal opinion has been sought prior to the finalization of the contract.

Blue Wild

Alan Stewart proposes to bring a trailer to the Harbour to facilitate the daily needs of his boat tour company. Alan has been encouraged to locate the trailer adjacent to the North Wall and a request has been made to remove  daily at close of business. 

Litter management

Concern has been expressed about the amount of litter that is blowing around the harbour before Big Blue Sea arrives. The situation will be monitored as the season progresses.

The general provision of litter bins will be reviewed as part of the next harbour walk-round.

The specific positioning of the dog litter bin beside the bench close to the Fishermen’s Monument was criticized by a local resident. It will now be repositioned somewhere less offensive.

By introducing the dog litter bins on Harbour Trust property, the onus has moved away from the dog owners onto the Trust which now needs to empty these bins.

The proposal to remove the bins and return  to dog litter picking was rejected, and it was agreed that Yvonne should return to East Lothian Council to remind them of their kind  commitment to empty the bins on trust property.

It was noted, however, that the Council is unable to keep on top of their own dog litter bins (at John Muir Country Park, for example) at the week-ends, the very time there will be maximum footprint. There may therefore be an on-going need for the Trust to empty the bins at certain times of the week.

7. Events

A. Harbour Festival (Sparkling Dunbar)

It is proposed that we hold SDHF on 7th August 2021. 

A decision was taken by the Board at the March meeting to review the position in relation to Covid19 restrictions nearer the time. If public gatherings are permitted, it may be necessary to hold a much smaller, community-based event. Early indications would suggest that any event will require participants, volunteers, and visitors to evidence that two vaccinations have been administered and they will require to take a test before and after attending the event. This could result in extremely low attendance and the inability for many in the wider community to attend. Monitoring will continue.

In the meantime, contact has been made with participants of previous years to ascertain an ‘in principle’ view of interest for the 2021 event. Much enthusiasm has been shown from craft traders, with a reduced response from musicians. This was anticipated as many larger bands will not have been actively practising or performing for some time. However, there is sufficient interest to be confident of a successful event on a smaller scale.

A Go/ No Go decision will be taken next month,

B. Tides and Times

The Board agreed at the March meeting to explore the possibility of joining forces with an external party to manage this event. Contact has been made with Trystan O’Brien, co-owner of Paradise Palms. He is a Dunbar resident and an active community volunteer.

Paradise Palms (Yo Soy pty Ltd) is owned and managed by Tyrstan O’Brien and his brother. Paradise Palms have been part of small events, such as the provision of canapes & drinks at Art Exhibitions at the City Art Café, Edinburgh, to major events with c.20k in attendance, e.g., Royal Highland Show and Terminal V.

Trystan has agreed to assist with the event managing food & drink, promotion and marketing, and fundraising. Ongoing discussions are taking place with Trystan to progress the event.

8 Harbour Improvement plan

A. Toilets

One contractor is pulling together a quotation, to add to one that is already in.

It was agreed that we would now start to apply for grant funding.

Work is needed to determine how best to move the electric meter that is currently in the bunker.

A meeting following this one will review the concerns expressed by the residents and alternative ideas.

B. Fishermen’s Monument

All of the fishermen have been consulted through the good offices of James Bisset. There is solid support for the project

The plan has been communicated individually to the residents of Cromwell Harbour who have been invited to comment if they so wish.

James Wood’s boat will need to be moved before any work can commence.

The earlier the boat can be removed the better, to inspect the site,  but work is not expected to start before the end of July.

Norman Hampshire has confirmed that the Council’s lawyer will be writing to confirm that the hardstanding can extend into the Common Good land.

There is currently a supply problem with the resin solution, which possibly explains the reluctance of the supplier to provide a price. The alternative of a whin dust solution will be explored with Kevin Thomson.

There is a concern at the choice of Keim paint, used on McArthur’s store and the Town House and recommended by conservationist specialists, with some recommending limewash which would need to be reapplied every year, and others recommending the sandstone finish. This matter will be discussed before the next meeting.

C. Rope rails

The rope rails have now been installed along the South Pier.

Further work is needed to the bases which is subject to discussion between Arch Henderson and AG Thomson.

The road repairs are expected to follow shortly.

D. Rams for the Harbour Bridge

The rams will be stored by the Harbourmaster and we will plan to start the refurbishment of the rams once the season is over, in consultation with Robin Hamilton and MacScott bond.

E. Cromwell Harbour Branders

The two sets of branders with a new ladder will provide safer moorings for the smaller fishing boats at the southern end of Cromwell Harbour.

Any further branders will require a full justification.

F. Broadhaven Breakwater

A section of the Broadhaven wall has collapsed. This will be assessed and repaired as required by AG Thomson

9  Any other competent business

Fit Form UK

A provisional enquiry has been received from Laura Ross, Fit Form UK, to use the Battery for fitness classes on a Mon morning at 10am and Tues at 1:15, for a period of one hour. Laura is a professional, qualified fitness instructor. She has suitable certification and insurance for this purpose and she has provided a full risk assessment. No equipment will be used that will cause damage to the Battery area. It is understood that a fee would be chargeable for hire. Laura is supportive of the Trust and has facilitated events to assist fundraising.

The request was granted on the basis of the submission with the following conditions:

  • Exclusive use will be granted on a temporary basis to manage Covid-19 restrictions. However, the Board consider the Battery to be open space, which can be accessed at any time by members of the public. It is  requested that access to the public is provided upon the lifting of Covid restrictions.
  • A barrier can be used at the entrance to the Battery to prevent access to the public during the period of Covid restrictions (barriers are available in the Battery vaults, access will be provided on the days booked).
  • A laminated notice stating ‘Closed for private use (one hour), by Order of the Dunbar Harbour Trust’ should be attached to the barrier to prevent any dispute.
  • The Board ask that care is taken to ensure that sessions and equipment are managed to ensure no damage to the property or grass.
  • The fee will be £8.33 plus VAT per session, with two sessions per week approved.
  • An invoice will be sent once per month with advance payment required. The first invoice will be sent at the end of April for the month of May. This invoice will include the booking fees for April (an exception and in arrears).
  • A refund will be offered for days when it is not possible to hold sessions due to inclement weather or other

Dunbar Christmas Lights

DCL have requested the permission of the Trust to place Christmas light fittings on the lampposts from Victoria Place, along the South Pier and Castle Gate. The lights would take the form of a spiral string, approximately one third from the top of the lamppost, as fixed to the High St. lampposts. There is an appreciation that not all locations come under the jurisdiction of the Trust and that permission will be required from others.

This proposal was unanimously supported, with the recommendation that the Trust looks at the Mousehole experience to consider ways of further enhancing the experience going forward. David pointed out that all these initiatives were of great potential economic benefit to the whole of Dunbar.

New Director induction

Walk-arounds will be arranged with the three new directors as a continuing part of the induction programme.

North Light Arts

Suzie Goodwin has asked if a beacon can be lit on top of Dunbar Castle during the UN Climate Change Conference (1 – 12 November 2021) to mark an event that will move along the John Muir Way, starting or finishing in Dunbar.

In principle this will have the support of the Trust, although there was some concern at a proposal to unnecessarily burn carbon in celebration of a Climate Change Conference. The meeting was assured by Yvonne that this was part of a much wider partnership plan, led by Jonathan Baxter, Environmental Artist, as part of the COP26. Multiple local organisations are involved including Friends of John Birthplace, Sustaining Dunbar and the Battery Theatre Company

Battery Lights

It was noted the lights in the Battery are not operating properly. Paul will investigate and reset the clock as required.

Lobster Hatchery

The pros and cons of installing a lobster hatchery in Dunbar will be explored with any interested parties.

Date of next meeting – Thursday 13th May  2021