Minutes Friday 11th August 2017 7:30pm
Short targeted Committee to discuss the proposed purchase by the Ullapool Harbour Trust (UHT) of the Wee Pier and associated land from the Highland Council (HC); this includes the land currently leased by the LBSC from the Highland Council.
Apologies, Paul D, John O.
Sandy declared an interest as a current Convenor of board of the UHT but was there to answer questions about their proposals and plans and what has come to light in arranging the transfer of the pier. He also declared that as a long standing member of the sailing club (and past-commodore) the best interests of the sailing club were close to his heart! He therefore abstained from any votes put to the committee.
Summary of issues discussed.
The Highland Council currently own the pier and the land between Am Pollan to the pier and a strip between the pier and the Sailing Club. Plans were available to show the extent of this which indicates that it may include land upon which the club house is built!.
The only information we have on the lease is from a letter to UHT from the HC (with some photo copies of key parts), Sandy showed us what he had. In summary: In 1994 the club entered an agreement to lease a strip of land between the clubhouse and the western edge of the wee pier as part of its plans to extend the hard standing. The lease was for 21 years but with a ‘tacit relocation’; in effect at the end of the 21 years the lease is automatically renewed under the original terms without either party doing anything. It is understood that under the original terms either side can give notice to end the lease though we don’t know the period of notice (probably 3 months).
The UHT are looking to purchase this land and the Wee Pier from the Highland Council and have learnt that in order to complete this they would have to give notice to terminate the LBSC lease. Tony Usher from the HC advised UHT that it would be a much easier (less costly and quicker) if the LBSC were prepared to voluntarily surrender the lease.
The sailing club has recognised for a very long time that the Wee Pier is in need of repair, indeed the club has spent time and money to do minor works (e.g. maintain fenders). Everyone present recognised that major work was necessary and if not done then it could rapidly deteriorate. The HC have no funds to repair the pier and if deemed dangerous their only option would to close it (as per Badentarbet).
For the record in 2000 the council approached the sailing club to offer the pier to them. In the end, the club declined as it was clear that its budget could not support the capital for the repair nor the revenue for the liability insurance. Other options of community ownership were explored with the Lochbroom Community Council but these came to nothing.
Sandy and Paul had drawn plans at this time, essentially capping the top and sides of the pier and sorting out the beach access and provide further hard standing on the east side of the pier. The pier would also be extended to ensure access at the lowest spring tides (extending some 10-15m). Sandy confirmed that the UHT had not drawn up any formal plans but that they were not proposing anything more than these original ideas. When they are ready they will liaise with key users (including the sailing club) as part of developing formal plans and proposals.
There was wide discussion as to what options were open to the Sailing Club. Concerns over any implications for losing the lease were explored but ultimately all agreed that we could trust the integrity of the UHT and that it was infinitely better to have the future of the land and the pier under their control rather than with the Highland Council. Sandy offered as much reassurance as he was in a position to do, that UHT were doing this for the interests in the community and did not foresee any change to its current custom and once in the UHT ownership any outstanding concerns could be resolved.
It was also agreed that resolving this was not a ‘constitutional issue’ and any decision was within the remit of the committee.
Three proposals were put to the vote (collectively worded so no proposer and seconder!)
1) That Loch Broom Sailing Club whole-heartedly supports the transfer of the ownership of the pier from the Council to the Harbour Trust.
2) To write to the Highland Council to Surrender the Lease.
3) To write to the UHT to say that this had been done, with the understanding that this would ensure the clubs continued use of its facilities and looking forward to supporting the UHT with its future plans.
Proposals approved unanimously.
Saturday 19th August - Campbells Trophy – As per last year, Race start 1pm (All boats) -Adrian to circulate
Saturday 26th August – Regatta - Follow last year, Friday Race, Saturday Race, Picos, BBQ.