Moray SNP News
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead this week met with representatives of the Elgin and Lossiemouth Harbour Company to discuss concerns within the community about the erection of bollards, closing of the road round the harbour to vehicles.
Mr Lochhead was contacted by a number of constituents opposed to the bollards and the erection of no access signs and concerns were expressed that neither were welcoming for visitors to the Marina area.
During the meeting with Mr George Reid and Mr Stephen Gauld of the Harbour Company, it was clear that they were not minded to reverse their decision that they believe they took in the interest of health and safety. Richard Lochhead will now write to The Moray Council seeking views on what other options could have achieved the same outcome in terms of improved safety.
Following the discussions, Mr Lochhead said:
"We had a full and frank meeting where I conveyed the disappointment expressed by many of my constituents over how the bollards and signs at the harbour had been installed without adequate consultation with the wider community.
"I appreciate that the harbour company's directors may have acted with the best of intentions in terms of health and safety and don’t doubt their commitment to what’s best for Lossiemouth, however, given that the harbour is a focal point in Lossiemouth valued by the whole community the way in which access has been affected has clearly caused considerable angst.
"Unfortunately, the directors are not of a mind to revisit the issue given that they are not obliged to do so due to being a private company and that they believe they have taken the best decision.
"While I take on board the fact that the directors are unpaid and give up their time to manage the harbour, I made the point that decisions over the future of such a strategic asset irrespective of whether it is privately or publicly owned can benefit from transparency and full and open discussion with the local community.
"I also explained that I will now be writing to the Moray Council seeking views on what other options may have achieved the same outcome in terms of improving safety.
"In the meantime, there are also questions over whether it is appropriate in the 21st century that Lossiemouth harbour should be managed and owned under an arrangement dating back to the 1800s and where local people find the company a bit of a mystery and perhaps want more of a say on the key decisions over its future.
"I understand the directors investigated other models in terms of ownership over ten years ago and perhaps it is now time to look again at how other harbours are owned and managed with greater input from the local community and in the public interest. It would be useful to have the view of the local community on this.”