The Courier

Council chiefs confident spending deadlines for £90k Arbroath seafront projects will be met

Busy pontoons in Arbroath's inner harbour

A pledge has been made that Angus Council will not miss the boat when it comes to spending almost £100,000 on Arbroath maritime projects before an end of year deadline.

The local authority’s arm-length Angus Alive culture and leisure trust has landed almost £40,000 for a fishing heritage initiative centred around Arbroath’s Signal Tower museum under the latest round of North East Scotland Fisheries Local Action Group (NESFLAG) funding.

A further £54,000 has also been allocated to develop pontoon provision at the nearby harbour.

Pontoons will be placed in the outer harbour to expand on those already in place in the inner harbour, boosting the fishing port’s diversification into a popular destination for small craft from all over the UK and beyond.

 

The money was warmly welcomed by members of the council’s policy and resources committee in Forfar, but Arbroath SNP councillor Alex King sought assurances that the time-limited rules would be met.

The EU cash question also triggered a mini Brexit flurry in the Angus chamber over the prospect of funding drying up in the future.

Mr King said: “This is an EU fund and I am concerned that in the report it mentions that everything has to be spent by December 2018, which leaves us only four months or so.

“Will we be able to spend it at the Signal Tower and purchase the pontoons – and is there any way we can find a way of spending around £10,000 left in the fund?”

Economic development chief Alison Smith told Mr King the terms of the grant allocation required a commitment date and a spending date, and assured councillors those would be met.

She also said a number of leads were currently being pursued in relation to the five-figure sum still available.

On the Brexit question, Mr King added: “A quick tot up of funds from various schemes indicates that we have received over £5 million.

“The question is, where are we going to get similar funding in the future?

“It’s a very worrying situation to be looking at if we are to lose £5m a year coming into Angus.”

Council finance spokesman and Kirriemuir Conservative councillor Angus Macmillan Douglas said: “There is a danger of doom and gloom here.

“There is no reason why this money, which is British money that goes to the EU, should not continue to be paid.”

NESFLAG is responsible for the management and delivery of the fisheries elements of the Angus, North Aberdeenshire and South Aberdeenshire Local Development Strategies.

In February 2016 it was allocated a budget of £1.437million by Marine Scotland, which comprises the community-led local development element of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).