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Minutes of a meeting of Directors held on Thursday 9th September 2021 

at McArthur’s Store



Alasdair Swan (Chair); Paul Ingram; Tania King; Kenny Maule; Eric Robertson

Yvonne Wemyss; 


Associate Director: John Band


Apologies: Alastair Cook; Dave Dunbar; David Nairn; John Williams


1 Minutes of the previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 12th August were approved.

Matters completed:

  1. A lifebelt has been fitted to the northeast of the Battery.
  2. Rope paths have been introduced in the coastal garden at Dunbar Battery.
  3. Dunbar Music Festival. Yvonne’s commitment was truly wonderful, and the event has enhanced the harbour’s reputation.
  4. Stage mounted electrical points have been fitted at Dunbar Battery.
  5. The harbour walkabout has been completed as planned.
  6. Fishermen’s Monument hardstanding has been completed, and the scaffolding is up to allow for repointing and repainting.
  7. Arrangements have been made to move Big Blu early to allow the boats to come out of the water.
  8. Homarus is not coming out of the water this winter but will be made ready for sale at her mooring.
    1. Cromwell Harbour CCTV camera has been re-aligned
  9. Fire extinguisher inspection has been completed
  10. PMSC external audit date has been fixed.
  11. The lock at the Vault Battery has been replaced. 8 keys to be cut.                                   

Matters carried forward:

  1. Donations lighthouse – has now been painted and is expected to be operational before the next meeting                                                                      
  2. Skip management plan              - take to DHMC                                     
  3. Van replacement                                                                                   
  4. VAT refund. HMRC has now confirmed that the Trust is not alone. There is a mountain of errors that HMRC is working through, and they have reached mid-April notifications. We realised HMRC’s error in July so will have some weeks to wait before we receive our refund.                                                 
  5. Victoria Harbour Mooring Chain plan     - Take to DHMC                         
  6. MacScott Bond’s Engineer’s visit to look at the bridge is dependant on the spare parts arriving.
  7. Creel storage plan                                                                     
  8. Retail charge-out rates.                                                             
  9. Extension to existing planning permission. Alastair Cook has the matter in hand but has yet to receive a reply from East Lothian Council’s Planning Department. 
  10. Engagement with Scottish Water re drainage system at Victoria Harbour.

There was a discussion about the process for emptying the lighthouse donations box. It was agreed that whoever was on duty at the harbour will empty the box at the end of each duty period.

It was agreed that a sign indicating “Slippery rocks” will be added to the new lifebelt pole. 

The production of promotional leaflets will be postponed until it becomes clearer what will happen in connection with the access to the castle.

2. Port Marine Safety Code

Incident Log Review

The main incident during the month has been the leaking of sewage into the harbour water. It took three attempts to get action out of Scottish Water. The root cause of the problem is a build-up of fat put down the drains by local residents. Once this fat had been removed the pumps worked properly again.

There was a discussion as to what action the Harbour Trust should take when sewage or other pollutants are seeping into the harbour waters. It is clear that neither SEPA nor ELC will take any effective action. Until the problem is solved the Harbour Trust will attach temporary notices to say that the waters are dangerous. The Harbourmaster will use Whats App to communicate to as many of the commercial fishermen and surfing schools, leisure users and active clubs as possible.

Scottish Water indicate that the pump needs to be upgraded, but there is no comfort that this will happen any time soon. This will be added to the discussions with Scottish Water on general drainage in the area.

Risk Assessment Review

The following risks were assessed –

  1. Adverse swell conditions
  2. Crew error
  3. Unplanned movement of berthed vehicle.

No changes are to be made to these risk assessments.

Fire Risk Review

The fire alarm was tested today and found to be in good working order.

Fire extinguishers

The annual inspection has been completed

Port Marine Safety Code external audit

This has been scheduled for October.

3 Finance Report

A. August management accounts:

The August report had been circulated prior to the meeting.

  1. August produced a surplus of £5.2k.
  2. The landings, a key measure of the financial health of our fishing industry, were up 65% in the month.
  3. Fuel drawings also reflect a good level of commercial activity.
  4. Donations (£283) were encouraging including a private donation for the use of the Battery as a wedding venue, a donation from the BBC for filming rights, £70 from Virgin Money Giving and £60 from Easy Fundraising. Virgin Money is closing as a platform, so we will need to select an alternative.
  5. A lack of visitor mooring fees and launching fees remains a concern. It has been suggested that our inability to find good parking arrangements for trailers is deterring day launchers.
  6. The maintenance costs in the month were for improvements, introducing better electricity facilities at Cromwell Harbour and also at the Battery

Donations platform

Virgin Money Giving has given notice that it is closing its platform at the end of November. The Harbour Trust therefore needs to change its platform. The preferred criteria are:

  • No subscription to join
  • Gift Aid available 
  • No service fees

The immediate short list is:

  1. CAF
  2. G
  3. Total giving

CAF is the favourite, because it is better known in the UK, but it was agreed that this platform would be compared with Easyfundraising, with whom the Harbour Trust currently does business.

The motorhome notice will require to be amended when the new source of fundraising is known. The current notice will be relevant to the end of this season as Virgin Money remain active until the end of November.

2022 price tariff

The draft tariff has been circulated. It will be further discussed at the next DHMC. The basic principles are 3% price increase (with 10% for hardstanding charges) with the visitors and launching fees kept at £20 and £15 respectively for ease of collection.

A proposal for the controlling and charging for potato boxes will be discussed at the next DHMC/DHT meetings.

2022 terms and conditions

The current draft introduces no changes.

4. Harbour Management Committee

The two-yearly condition inspection of the walls has been completed and the report is now awaited.

Directors are asked to consider whether a notice, which makes it clear swimming is not permitted and a byelaw of the Trust, is added to the noticeboard. The message is included in byelaws on the pier side. However, there is a lot of information, and the print is small, so it can easily be missed. 

5 Retail and events

 Kittiwake Café (formerly Tasty Toastie)

We have received an approach requesting permission for a slightly larger unit for 2022 trading. The unit will not extend beyond the existing space provided - currently accommodating the trailer component of the Kittiwake unit. A formal request is to be made with measurements. This matter will be considered by the Retail Review Group, with a recommendation to the next full Board.  

B Retail Review Group

September agenda –

-       trading capacity and whether to allow for increased trading in 2022 

-       whether advertisement for potential new traders is carried out (Dec 2021)

-       2022 retail fees and method of approval, i.e., formal contract or existing approval letter

-       any issues that require discussion with existing trade to ensure smooth operations in 2022

-       Other matters that require consideration

C Tides and Times; a celebration of Dunbar fishing

A meeting with Paradise Palms considered promotional materials and funding 

D Dunbar Battery

The Dunbar Music Festival was held over the weekend Fri 3rd to Sun 5th Sep and was an enormous success. There were a couple of issues with children attempting to enter the venue and putting themselves in potential danger by climbing the walls around the Battery – North and East walls. This was managed by onsite security and stewards and did not impact on the event. 

Belhaven Brewery had no method to dispose of their waste. This was disposed of by Dunbar Against Litter and stewards. BB have been asked to consider a donation to DAL for their support and the DMF team have been asked to consider this matter in the planning of the 2022 event.

Otherwise, the event was a huge success and has received positive feedback. 

Our gratitude to the professional team of volunteers who planned and managed this event. We look forward to supporting the DMF team in 2022.

Other Battery dates booked:

Every Tues, 1-2pm – Fit Form UK

(Note: Fit Form will not use the Battery on a Tues during the autumn/ winter months)

Sat 4th June 2022 – Private event

Sun 17th Oct 2021 – COP26 Event, Poems, song and soup.

E Coastal Garden at the Battery

The rope path and signage have been installed and equipment has been purchased to enable volunteers to carry out the appropriate tasks to maintain this space. New plants will be purchased in season when they have better chance of survival. 

6 Harbour Improvement plan

The next harbour walkabout will take place on Monday 25th October at 2pm.

The last walkabout showed that the problem with untidy creel storage along the north Wall had got worse.

The area outside the new Maggie Stores is being abused and effective control of this yard to keep it clear, for safety reasons and for public access, needs to be established.

Much of the problem centres round an absence of proper control over creel and potato box storage. These matters will be discussed this month with the DFA and other fishermen (if not members of the Association), together with possible charitable activities that might be conducted with enjoyleisure’s permission on the area above the castle vaults (including possible free storage), and ways in which the DFA might tidy up the area on the Common Good land in front of the Fishermen’s Monument. The items lying there currently obscure the view of the monument for anyone visiting Dunbar and are insensitive to the local residents. Hopefully, a better solution can be found.

There was a discussion about the harbourmaster’s efforts to recycle waste. The piles waiting for a collection prior to recycling are unsightly. It was agreed that the trailers and scrap metal on the enjoyleisure site (other than the Rowing club trailers) will be removed.

Old creels will be advertised as being “free on collection”

A. Development Committee

The remit was finalised for the Development committee (DN, AC, TK), subject to any concerns the Committee members might have when they first meet. 

A drawn-up plan will be tabled at our October Meeting to show the possible use of the site above the castle vaults for charitable activities. 

This plan will be refined at our November meeting for presentation to enjoyleisure that month.

Ideas as to how the Trust might move to support Marine Tourism at Dunbar will follow, but do not have the same urgency

B. Toilets

An extension to the existing planning permission will be sought once a response is received from East Lothian Council‘s Planning Department.

The priority is to discuss with Scottish Water whether any public toilet facility can be introduced into the harbour area with the existing drainage system.

The use of the old ballroom site was discarded as being too far away from the main harbour area and Dunbar Battery, and because it would not comply with the Equality Act 2010 . There was then a proposal that it should be kept in play in case all other options failed. A final decision needs to be made on this at the next meeting so that the Development Committee can decide whether to put the ballroom site onto our plan to be presented to enjoyleisure.

D. Fishermen’s monument

Work continues to plan. The hardstanding has been installed by AG Thomson, the bench is awaiting delivery and the Ridge is undertaking the new painting and re-pointing. 

9  Any other competent business

Welfare Committee

The Committee members for the current year were appointed:

  1. Yvonne Wemyss – Chair
  2. Kenneth Maule
  3. Tania King

Marine Tourism

A meeting will be held with Alan Stewart to discuss the future of Marine Tourism in Dunbar. Alan Stewart has highlighted an investment opportunity offered by the Crown Estate, but the requirements that this investment should be commercially attractive to the Crown Estate and should involve the transfer of land do not sit well with the charitable objectives of the Trust. However, it is agreed that a level of marine tourism adds to the offering of Dunbar Harbour.

Scouts’ Shed

The Dunbar Scouts would value a shed near the harbour. This might be built into an enjoyleisure plan. A proposal for a unit to be used by divers and other leisure users was proposed.

Creels on the North Wall

Eddie Macfarlane has asked about storing creels along the North Wall in the winter. This has also been a Harbour Trust suggestion to increase the storage capacity for the fishermen.  Ring bolts would need to be introduced to secure the creels in a storm.

Photographs for leaflets

Fraser Stewart will be instructed to take these while the light is good.

Electrical sockets at Dunbar Battery.

For safety reasons it was agreed to change the sockets under the seats at Dunbar Battery to remove the temptation for the young to use them.

Access to Victoria Harbour

The double yellow line and hatching requirements had been assumed by Dave Anderson but there is no sign that any action has been taken. The access for trucks coming to remove the catch from the fishing boats can be very difficult at times, and the matter will now be sorted by the DHMC.

Repairs to harbour steps at the harbour entrance

An estimate of the cost or repairs will be obtained from The Ridge.

A decision will then be made by the Board as to whether to proceed with this work, or not.

Ladders in Cromwell Harbour

An estimate of the cost or repairs will be obtained from The Ridge.

A decision will then be made by the Board as to whether to proceed with this work, or not.

Lighting in McArthur’s Store

Bulbs are needed for the downstairs toilet.

Several of the spotlights in the office and meeting room also need to be replaced.

Date of next meeting – Thursday 14th October  2021 in McArthur’s Store