September 23, 2018

Progress at community owned Meanish Pier

A West Skye community organisation has taken a significant step forward with a major harbour development by securing a licence to install a new pontoon and moorings from the
national regulator.

The Glendale Trust Meanish Pier Project has also clinched a key funding grant to help it value land and foreshore it wants to purchase. Marine Scotland has approved two Marine Licenses permitting the installation of a new pontoon and 5 deep water moorings in Loch Pooltiel. It comes six years after the Trust purchased the Glendale Pier Slip and surrounding area at Meanish from Highland Council and developed plans to meet the needs of the community and local users.

The pontoon and deep-water moorings will provide residents and visitors safe access to the sea at all times, with the potential to increase economic activity in Glendale. The moorings will be offered to visiting yachts and provide a welcome anchorage for visitors to the area from the sea.

A Scottish Land Fund award will be used to provide an independent valuation of two pieces of land adjacent to the area already in community ownership, this includes the foreshore which is managed by Crown Estate Scotland. The Trust will no longer be subject to annual fees and able to manage its own marine assets if it can buy the foreshore. The land, which is currently in private ownership, will allow the community to develop plans for improvements to the local environment as some stone ruins in the area have been used as popular wild toileting sites in recent years. 

It is anticipated that a stage two SLF application will be lodged later this year once the independent valuation has been completed and agreements reached with the land owners.

Elgar Finlay, the Trust’s Project Officer, said: “It’s been fantastic to have been involved in this Project since its inception back in 2011. As with almost all community-led projects it has taken a significant length of time with many ups and downs to reach this stage. “The key to our success has been building excellent working relationships with multiple stakeholders including Highland Council, the Crown Estate Scotland, the Glendale Moorings Association, local landowners and Kames, a commercial aquaculture company. All have had a part to play and have shared the vision for Glendale. The Trust is reaching the stage where the Project is beginning to deliver real community benefit and is testament to the commitment of all those involved, particularly the volunteer board of directors who give up so much of their time.

“Glendale is already benefiting from increased pier usage, improved landscaping is already in place, as well as the creation of two full-time fish farm operator jobs. “A leasing arrangement with Kames, the fish farm operator, will see sustainable revenue raised from the Project which could be used to benefit the wider area of Glendale. The brand new safe and welcoming stop off point for sailing visitors to the area is a real bonus and may well encourage further marine-based activity in Glendale.”

Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch MSP Kate Forbes said she was delighted to see the progress made: “It is a fantastic start to 2018 for the Glendale community, well in advance of another busy summer season,” she said. “I have been impressed with the sheer determination and vision of the Glendale community in driving these projects forward.

“The approval of the Marine Licenses, as well as a successful Land Fund application, shows just how much can be achieved by Skye communities. There is no question as to the growing popularity of pontoons along the west coast and it will be a serious boost to the local economy if visitors and locals can access the sea at all times. “The £10 million strong Land Fund is available for all communities to apply and I am absolutely delighted that Glendale’s successful application is putting land back in the hands of communities. These two successes are testament to the hard work and persistence of those involved and hopefully there will be many more successes to celebrate in 2018.”

Crown Estate Scotland’s head of property, Andy Wells, said: “We have been pleased to support the Glendale Trust with this project. Crown Estate Scotland is keen to work with coastal communities to identify opportunities for collaboration and partnership working. We wish the trust and the community every success with this project in the future.”

Stuart Cannon CO of Kames said: “Over 45 years Kames Fish Farming Limited has maintained a strong ethos of participating in the communities in which it operates. It employs local people, utilises local businesses and supports local organisations. It has been particularly exciting times at Glendale with the successful installation of our marine cage site and we are very pleased to be able to offer help to the Glendale Trust Meanish Pier Project. Using our expertise and resources to install a pontoon and deep water moorings which can be used by both locals and visitors.”