St Andrews Harbour could be set for a facelift, with better accessibility and improved facilities to make it a port fitting for a major tourist town.
But St Andrews Harbour Trust has stressed the changes would be as much for local boat users and fishermen as for visitors.
The trust has applied to Fife Council for listed building consent – the harbour is a Category A Listed Building – and planning permission to install floating pontoon moorings for marine leisure vessels and an access ramp.
If given the go-ahead, the £124,000 project could be completed by the summer.
Half the cost would be covered by European funding, with the remainder coming from Fife Council and donations from various town trusts.
“St Andrews is a major tourist centre and the harbour has been long overdue for
a facelift to add something
to what the town offers not just to visitors but to locals as well,” said Cameron Rae, chairman of the Harbour Trust.
He predicts that with the improvements, the moorings, currently at about 85 per cent usage, would be fully used, with even a waiting list for berths.
“There is also the potential for new business opportunities, such as sports fishing,” he said.
The harbour currently has 48 berths and while the proposed pontoons would shave capacity to 46 vessels, St Andrews Harbour Trust is confident that more welcoming and accessible facilities would bring more business - and more income for the upkeep of the port.
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.
The Design and Access Statement which supports the planning application states that the current informal moorings fail to provide the modern high-standard facilities that might be expected of a harbour that was a gateway to the town from the North Sea and was an important landmark in St Andrews.
The proposed new pontoons and access ramp would “significantly enhance the sense of identity associated with the harbour” and “contribute to the distinctive character and function of this working harbour in a prime tourism location.”
The pontoons and access bridge have been designed to safely accommodate its users and there would sufficient width for wheelchair access.
The access ramp would provide direct access to the pontoons and would be readily accessible from the adjacent road and pedestrian footpath network.
Half of the £124,000 costs would come from the European Fisheries Axis Four Fund, which aims to encourage diversity in fishing, with the remainder covered by money from the St Andrews Common Good Fund, St Andrews Pilgrim Foundation, St Andrews Community Trust, Kinburn Charitable Trust, the R&A Town Fund, Fife Council and the Harbour Trust itself.