Council move Drummore Harbour plans forward

Dumfries and Galloway Council are on track to acquire Drummore Harbour, it was confirmed this week.

At Tuesday’s meeting of the economy, environment and infrastructure committee, councillors agreed that subject to obtaining the necessary funding, the plan to obtain the harbour should progress.

Councillor Colin Smyth, chair of the council’s economy, environment and infrastructure committee said: “The OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator) is carrying out an investigation into the Drummore Harbour Trust and in the process of this they have received a petition from 300 Drummore residents saying that the interests of the local community are not being served by the Trust. The community is looking to bring the harbour back into use, so the council has stepped in to help make this happen.”

Councillor Jim McClung, Vice Chair of committee said: “For a variety of reasons there has been little or no maintenance work carried out on the harbour, or the access to it from the sea. This lack of maintenance has been ongoing for a number of years and if this situation is allowed to continue there is little doubt that the sea access will eventually become un-navigable.

As a local councillor, I find this unacceptable and that is why we need to take forward the previously agreed decision to pursue a Harbour Empowerment Order and if necessary the compulsory purchase of the harbour and area agreed at committee today.”

Once funding is identified, the compulsory purchase of land may be required to take the project forward. In the longer term, the idea is that a community trust become the Statutory Harbour Authority.

Drummore Harbour was operated from the 1930s by the Armed Forces until 2004 when the MoD sold it to the Drummore Harbour Trust.

The Trust is not a statutory harbour authority, so is restricted in some of its functions and as a result, in 2007 Kirkmaiden Community Council wrote to Dumfries and Galloway Council asking if it could take over the harbour with a view to redeveloping it.

Dumfries and Galloway MP Russell Brown has welcomed the news. He said: “It is shows that the council administration is listening to local people as it is something that the people of Drummore have long called for having been so badly let down by the Trust. I support the community in their desire to redevelop the harbour so that it can be brought into full use and not in its current form where some functions are restricted. I will offer any support that I can to the council and local people.”