New life for St Andrews harbour as pontoon plans are approved

St Andrews Harbour.
St Andrews Harbour.

The go-ahead has been given for a floating pontoon at St Andrews Harbour by Fife Council, and the approval was immediately followed by the handover of a £15,000 cheque from the town’s Community Trust.

The pontoon will be based against the harbour’s east wall, providing space for 32 vessels joining the small fishing fleet of around a dozen small vessels in the harbour.

The harbour is one of the little gems in St Andrews.

Brian Paterson, Harbour Trust chairman

Harbour Trust chairman Brian Paterson was delighted with the news: “The harbour is one of the little gems in St Andrews,” he said. “St Andrews’ only access is by road and we would like to see it by sea as well.

“The pontoon will give people access to the town – and be accessible for the less able sailor,” he added.

The total cost of the project is £350,000 and, with the granting of planning permission, Mr Paterson hopes more funding will become available.

“But now we have enough to start the work and I hope work will start on the pontoon later this summer,” he said.

Fishermen land high-quality shellfish from around the nearby shores, which are sold locally, nationally and exported. Around 20 people are currently employed at St Andrews Harbour.

The proposed floating pontoons have been chosen to minimise physical impact on the historic harbour and on the visual aspect of site, which is in the St Andrews Conservation area. The choice of installation would also allow the pontoons to be easily replaced and modernised over time.

It will be similar to those already in place in Anstruther and Mr Paterson hopes they will attract both local sailors and those from further afield, offering highly competitive rates – just £16.50 per night for visitors.

The harbour is believed to date back to the 16th century and is now owned and run by the St Andrews Harbour Trust. re-constituted in 2010. Its role is to ensure the harbour and its facilities are maintained, use of the harbour is controlled in a safe and efficient manner, and any developments are in line with Trust’s directives.

The Trust aims to improve and promote St Andrews Harbour and its surrounding area to the benefit of residents and visiting harbour users and the local community.

A small, but growing, number of pleasure craft are also based within the sheltered waters of the Inner basin.

The last major works at the harbour were in 2013, when new gates were installed after the previous original 200-year-old gates were destroyed in a freak storm in 2012.

The Trust raised more than £100,000 then to renew the gates, vital to safe operation of the harbour.