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									South West Fife Area Committee

23 February 2011
Agenda Item No.10

Inverkeithing Harbour – Position Statement
Report by: Dr Bob McLellan, Head of Transportation Services and Grant Ward, Head
of Leisure and Cultural Services
Wards Affected: 6 (Inverkeithing and Dalgety Bay)
Purpose
      The purpose of this report is to update local members regarding the background and
      present position regarding Inverkeithing Harbour.
Recommendation

      It is recommended that committee note the present position regarding this area of land
      and that a further report will be presented once the land ownership issue is progressed.


Resource Implications

      There are no resource implications arising from this report.


Legal & Risk Implications


      The condition of the gated mooring area looks somewhat unkempt and unmanaged. Many
      of the boats appear to have engines but there is no obvious fuel tank facility. It is
      reasonable to assume that volatile liquids are being stored in the various sheds/shacks
      and that would not be permitted on Council controlled land/buildings.

Policy & Impact Assessment
      Not affected at this stage.


Consultation

      Consultation has taken place between all relevant Council Services with a potential
      involvement with Inverkeithing Harbour, namely: Leisure & Cultural Services,
      Transportation Services, Estates, Legal Services and Local & Community Services, as
      well as local Members.


1.0 Background
      1.1    As a Harbour Authority, Fife Council is responsible for eleven harbours and piers
             around the coastline of Fife. The register of the Council’s harbours and piers is
             detailed in Appendix 1 of this report. Generally these historic maritime structures
             play a significant role or position within their local communities and they are
           managed and maintained by Transportation Services on behalf of the Council.

    1.2    Forth Ports operate harbours at Methil, Kirkcaldy, Burntisland and Rosyth. There
           are a number of private harbours and piers in Fife such as St Andrews, Elie, and
           Tayport that are operated by Harbour Trusts and in addition, many others that are
           in varied ownership such as Newburgh, West Wemyss and Limekilns etc

    1.3    At local authority reorganisation in 1975, Fife Regional Council became the
           Harbour Authority and the Register of Harbours and Piers was formalised following
           detailed scrutiny and review. This responsibility transferred to Fife Council in
           1996. The majority of the Council’s harbours are covered by Harbours Byelaws
           and rates and dues are applied to harbour users. These are approved annually by
           the Environment, Enterprise & Transportation Committee.

    1.4    Inverkeithing Bay encompasses an area of significant private ownership on the
           southern shore with the Council owning the area known as the Ballast Bank on
           the northern shore where the Keithing Burn debouches into the bay. This area is
           displayed on Appendix 2 and it can be seen that the majority of the area is on the
           Common Good account. The Ballast Bank area is managed and maintained by
           Leisure and Cultural Services as public open space and sports facilities.


2.0 Inverkeithing Harbour
    2.1 Background
    2.1.1 The area known as Inverkeithing Harbour is quite different from Fife Council’s
          recognised harbours and piers which in the main are significant marine
          infrastructure providing essential shelter for vessels from the severe effects of the
          sea and tidal storms etc.

    2.1.2 The situation at Inverkeithing Ballast Bank is effectively a section of walled
          shoreline that provides a mooring facility. The area of land that is currently being
          used by persons unknown / boat owners appears to be reclaimed land and the
          ownership of this area is unclear.
    2.1.3 It is understood that prior to 1975 this area had declined into limited use. In addition
          the reclaimed area was not accepted by the then Burgh Engineer and the area has
          effectively remained unmanaged by any local authority since. Albeit it is now shown
          that the land is either on or adjacent to Fife Council’s Common Good land.

    2.1.4 Appendix 3 of this report details some photos displaying the type of use being
          made of the area of the Ballast Bank that has been barriered off by persons
          unknown. Investigations so far have been unable to confirm if a formal ‘boat club’
          exists. In addition we have been unable to establish what rights the users have to
          the land/buildings and what authority they have to access the Keithing Burn area.


    2.2 Land Ownership
    2.2.1 In response to an agreed motion by the South West Fife Area Committee (minute
          para 343 of 2010.SWF.191 refers) officers from Leisure and Cultural Services,
          Transportation Services, Estates, Legal Services and Local & Community Services
          have been involved in discussions and instigated a review of the land ownership
             and related issues.

      2.2.2 In summary, a detailed review by Legal Services has been unable to establish a
            title for the Ballast Bank area that is being accessed and operated by private boat
            users.


      2.2.3 In effect, this suggests that the Council do not own this land and hence have no
            power over its management and use. It may be possible to argue that this section
            of land is included in the Council’s Common Good title of the adjacent land and that
            the coast line has been altered by infilling and nothing has been done to change
            the title records. The Ballast Bank is in the main, an area of reclaimed land and
            there is every likelihood that further land reclamation works were carried out during
            the 20th century, but we have no records to confirm this or otherwise.


      3.0 Conclusions
      3.1    The ownership of the Ballast Bank area being used to moor and store boats and
             equipment has not yet been determined. Further and more detailed investigations
             will be required by Estates and Legal Services.

      3.2    Until the land ownership issue can be resolved no formal action can be taken
             regarding the operation and use of this area.

      3.3    Once more information is available a further report will be presented to South
             West Fife Area Committee.


Appendices
      Appendix 1    -     Fife Council Register of Harbours & Piers
      Appendix 2    -     Common Good Ownership Plan at Ballast Bank, Inverkeithing
      Appendix 3    -     Photos Showing Use of Common Good Land


Background Papers
      None

Report Contact(s)


      Derek Crowe                                            Peter Howden
      Senior Manager, Roads & Engineering Services           Development Manager
      County Buildings, Cupar                                Bankhead House, Glenrothes
      Telephone: 08451 555555+450441                         Telephone: 08451 55555+440598


      Email – derek.crowe@fife.gov.uk                        Email – peter.howden@fife.gov.uk

								
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