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Minutes of a meeting of Directors held on Thursday 13th May 2021 

at Dunbar Battery



Alasdair Swan (Chair); Paddy Crerar;  Dave Dunbar; Paul Ingram; Tania King; 

Kenny Maule; David Nairn; Eric RobertsonYvonne Wemyss; 


Apologies: Alastair Cook;




1 Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 8th April  2021 were approved.

Matters completed –

  1. The application for advertising consent has been registered.
  2. Companies House has been notified about the appointment of the new Directors.
  3. Dave Dunbar is now in charge of incidents involving criminal activities.
  4. The analysis of harbour trust funds was circulated.
  5. Draft statutory accounts for the year ended 31 March 2021 have been submitted to Whitelaw Wells.
  6. The harbour walkabout took place as planned.
  7. Broadhaven breakwater repair has been referred to A G Thomson.
  8. Fit Form has been given permission to use Dunbar Battery for fitness classes.
  9. The Battery Lights are operating as planned
  10. The application for planning permission has been registered

Matters still in progress –

  1. The lighthouse for donations. Micky Mcloughlin is coming up with a proposed design for the Board’s consideration.
  2. The Cromwell Harbour CCTV camera is still to be adjusted to include the monument.
  3. Covering of the electric cables outside the cold store.
  4. Removal of trailers below the Maggie.
  5. Inspection of mooring chains project.
  6. Lobster hatchery project.

2. Port Marine Safety Code

Incident Log Review

The Board expressed their condolences to the family of the late Peter Gray, a resident of Dunbar, who fished out of Cove. His boat was towed into Dunbar after Peter lost his life when he fell overboard when fishing on his own. The harbourmaster has been assisting the Police, MAIB and the MCA and also met with some of the Peter’s family.

The news has come as quite a shock to the fishing community here and there has been a lot of reflection and a real desire to improve safety standards of the industry locally. One of the trawlers left the harbour for the sole reason of doing man overboard drills. The harbourmaster has had several discussions with fishermen about what can be done to improve safety onboard their vessels.

Risk Assessment Review

The following risks were assessed –

  1. Skipper error resulting in a collision with the quayside.
  2. Skipper error resulting in grounding
  3. Skipper error resulting in a collision with another vessel

No changes are to be made to these risk assessments.

3 Finance Report

A. April management accounts:

The April report had been circulated prior to the meeting.

  1. There was a Surplus of £250 in the month of April
  2. All the grants that have been awarded by Marine Scotland and East Lothian Council have now been paid.
  3. The commercial activity in the harbour is much stronger as we move out of Covid 19 lockdown. Last year the mooring income for the first six months of the year was waived, although we did have a Covid grant of £10,000 to partially mitigate against this loss. However, this year’s landing fees for the month of £3,508 compare with last year’s April income of £42.
  4. Launching income at £708 shows the year-on-year impact of the leisure users being allowed out of lockdown.
  5. The increase in Store Rental shows the positive impact of the Maggie Stores this year
  6. The cost of licences relates to the entertainment licence which lasts for three years.
  7. Maintenance costs were for the gardening service for the whole year.
  8. There are no credit control problems to report.

B. Replacement van:

The old van has been scrapped for £150. It had been fully written off. A replacement has yet to be sourced.

C. Year-end accounts

These are currently with Whitelaw Wells for an independent examination. The intention is to approve these accounts at the next Board Meeting.

4. Harbour Management Committee

QD had been tidying up around the Harbour, including the Enjoy Leisure site and in particular beside the Fishermen’s monument at Cromwell Harbour. There was a substantial amount of scrap metal and it was suggested this could be sold and funds put towards skip hire. QD would like an annual budget for Skip hire, he felt we needed a skip some 10 times a year which would cost circa £3500 pa. JB suggested the skip users should contribute as part of landing fees. At the February Board Meeting QD said that SIX skips per year should be sufficient and the budget for the current year has been set at £2,160 for skip hire. Landing dues are essential to fund the running of the harbour, but the dues do not represent “new money” for paying for the skips. McArthur Store tenants used to pay equal shares for renting in skips for the stores, but this arrangement was ceased when the tenants complained that they did not get good use of the skips and could dispose of their own industrial waste. Given the usage of skips last year, there is some doubt as to whether the tenants are finding this to be possible. The matter will be kept under review, but the presence of skips for long periods of the year last year encouraged fly tipping and brought the Harbour Trust into disrepute. ER passed on the harbourmaster’s revised view that six skips per year was not enough and the matter will be taken back to the DHMC for further consideration.

QD advised he had taken on some other work in the Summer and that Denholm would be able to cover most of this, James Bisset  kindly has said he has no problem covering the gaps.

Agreement had been reached between the Fishermen for the requirements of the maintenance bay, this should be some 16m long and the height raised by approximately 1m including beams. Branders would be required and, if possible, the protruding rock on the wall leveled off. RH is also working with AG Thomson on Road resurfacing and would look at patching on the hard stand. Action RH.

Harbour users items:

Victoria Harbour chains are not trustworthy, ER suggested replacing and leaving old chain in place to reduce cost of lifting and inspection. QD will obtain costs of reconditioned chain that would be suitable.

Complaints had been received regarding parking on pier beside Tasty Toastie, this was causing access issues. JB said that the creels would move soon and this would reduce the problem, in addition the Volunteer assistant Harbour Master would be advised to ask car owners to move on.

Toilets were again raised, ER advised that funding was being explored, JB offered to investigate some sources available to Fishermen.

5. Retail

Big Blu Sea

Big Blu Sea was successfully positioned on the hardstanding on Friday 7th May, assisted by PI. Chris Percy-Davies hopes to open the weekend of 14th May all going to plan. However, he does not intend to promote the opening, preferring to let growth in business happen organically. This way he can manage any unforeseen teething issues. Power and water will be supplied by the Trust as agreed. Power use will be monitored, and an appropriate charge applied.

Blue Wild

Alan Stewart has confirmed that he does not wish to rent one of the smaller storage units on the South Quay as they are not fit for his needs. He will use a trailer, as required, and remove daily from site. He proposes to erect the Blue Wild advertising banner on a permanent basis on the South Quay and will use a feathered flag on business days (this will be removed at the end of the business day), as agreed last year. He will be invoiced as appropriate for the permanent advertising banner when erected.

Litter management

The Trust acknowledge and appreciate the continued support of harbour volunteers to manage litter. Litter will be closely monitored post the opening of Big Blu Sea and action taken as/ if required.

7. Events

A. Harbour Festival (Sparkling Dunbar) 

Sparkling Dunbar is due to be held on Sat 7th August. Investigation continues as to what the requirements for public events currently are. A final decision whether to proceed or cancel will be taken at the June Board meeting. A scaled down event is anticipated should it proceed.

B. Tides and Times

Provisional dates for the Tides and Times event are as follows:

Date(s): Fundraiser;The Herring Trail: Sun 29th May Exhibitions/ Talks: Mon 30th May-Sat 4thJune Event: Sat 4th and Sun 5th June 2022.

Discussions continue with Paradise Palms who will work in partnership with the Trust to deliver the event. PP will take responsibility for funding, catering and assist with promotional materials.

C. RNLI Lifeboat Day

A provisional date for the RNLI event has been set for Sat 21st August. The RNLI are exploring the requirements of the event and will consider whether to proceed when Covid requirements are known.

D. Battery Reservations and update

Fit Form have been holding successful fitness classes since mid-April, with no issues reported. It would appear this is bringing some additional business to the Tasty Toastie as several fitness buddies are buying refreshments after the class.

In addition to Sparkling Dunbar and RNLI Lifeboat Day, provisional bookings have been made for the Battery as follows:

Sat 10th July 2021: European Stone Stacking Championships Concert

Sat 31st July 2021: private Booking

Sat 11th & 12th Sep 2021: Dunbar Music Festival ‘World Music Concert’

Sat 4th June 2022: Private Booking

Guidance has been sought from Scottish Government and ELC on Covid19 venue and event management.

It is recommended that grass seeding is not carried out at the Battery this year as last years seeding has not had a sustainable effect and it requires substantial volunteer effort. It has also been determined that it is not possible to lay stone flags at the embrasures due to the limited depth of earth available.

8 Harbour Improvement plan

A Harbour Walkabout was completed on Mon 3rd May. The harbour is much improved. However, a few items were noted for action, such as increased storage on the South Quay, Cromwell slipway and at McArthur’s compound, some loose ropes which may present a hazard at the Battery car park, large net piles at Cromwell Quay and the dog waste bin at Cromwell remains full. Obtaining a response from ELC on this matter has been challenging with officers working from home.

It was agreed that a unique numbering system (as used in the recent report) will enable the Board to assess which defects are being cleared and which are not. A few items can be referred to specific Directors for action. Those issues that require the support and guidance of the fishermen will be referred to the DHMC. Some will be issues that the harbourmaster can resolve.

A. Toilets

In his absence, Alastair Cook’s objections to the toilet proposal were noted. They are the same objections that were tabled and considered by the Planning Department before they issued Planning Permission.

It was agreed that any toilet provision needs to be accompanied by a robust maintenance plan, or the town and the Harbour Trust will be brought into disrepute. East Lothian Council’s current position is that it can neither help out with funding or with human resource. The preferred plan is to employ two (or more) part time “harbour janitors”, whose job description will be to keep the harbour clean and clear of litter, as well as to keep the toilets clean.

The cost burden on the Harbour Trust for providing this facility to the general public will be a five figure sum every year. It was therefore agreed that there will need to be a card charge for those wishing to gain entry to the toilets.

It was suggested that self-cleaning toilets could be an option, but these still need to be serviced, and it was pointed out that these can often bring more problems that benefits with them.

It was suggested that there is no rush to make a decision as the planning permission will need to be extended unless work starts before September. However, it was pointed out that the Harbour Trust has been working on this project for four years now, was given a clear mandate in the 2019 Harbour Users Meeting to get on with delivering it, (a meeting that included local residents who spoke up in support of the project), and although much of the delay has been caused by East Lothian Council’s slow response to granting building consent, there is a clear impatience being expressed at the slow speed of progress. Some members of the public are using Dunbar Battery as a toilet, illustrating the problem.

It was therefore agreed that the project would proceed without further delay but , in parallel, a committee will be set up to explore Alastair Cook’s concerns and to propose any alternative solutions that can meet the need. (see section B below)

There will be an on-site meeting next week with one of the potential suppliers

B. Land extension

There was a general discussion about the possible use of additional land. One such use was as a site for the toilets, but concern was expressed that tucked away in this fashion it would be an obvious target for vandalism.

It was also suggested that it would be good to have a fishing museum and visitor centre close to the harbour. This has wide support from the public and would be a further draw to Dunbar. Unfortunately, these are black pits for money, way beyond the financial means of the Harbour Trust.

It was further suggested that a developer might pick this idea up, together with the provision of some retail units. There was a view expressed that it was hard to see how this would help the charitable objectives of the Harbour Trust. The problems of getting such a proposal past East Lothian Planning Department and Historic environment Scotland should not be minimized, with the harbour vaults below the site.

The site is currently being used for charitable activities, and any proposal wil need to deal with how these activities are to be handled in the future.

Before any move to acquire more land, via purchase or lease, is made, the Board will agree whether there is any such need and will have a cost/benefit analysis to consider, together with the source of any funding. To this end, a Committee will be set up under the chairmanship of David Nairn, and any Directors should notify DN if they wish to join in the deliberations. A remit for this committee will be sent to DN with time-scales and objectives.

The Chairman is to meet enjoyleisure next week in another capacity and will find out what the current plans are for the site below the swimming pool. Previous discussions have excluded the possible uses as a restaurant, café, or toilet, but times have changed, and maybe these ideas are now in play.

C. Fishermen’s Monument

Confirmation has been received from East Lothian Council that the Common Good land may be used for the hardstanding in front of the monument. 

The current plan has reverted to the use of limestone and advice has been taken from Historic environment Scotland. The hardstanding is likely to be compacted whin dust within a whin stone perimeter, all on a level so as not to create a trip hazard.

9  Any other competent business

Edinburgh and East Lothian Doors Open Days 2021

This event takes place on 25th and 26th September and allows the general public to look over McArthur’s Store. Alastair Cook has kindly agreed to organise this on the Trust’s behalf.

Date of next meeting – Thursday 10th June  2021