Aberdeenshire Council has announced that the night watchman service at Macduff Harbour will continue to operate.

The service had been earmarked for closure, as part of a review to look at the structure and responsibilities within the harbour’s service, with the aim of making improvements and to ensure harbours, including Macduff, are on a sound sustainable footing for the long term. The review included giving consideration to the role of night-watch staff at Macduff Harbour.

Director of Infrastructure Services, Stephen Archer, explained that he had listened carefully to the concerns of harbour users and, in particular, the fishing community, who argued that investment was needed to support continued and future growth of the industry, and raised health and safety concerns. The continuing service could also support the Macduff Harbour Masterplan and the Macduff Regeneration Plan.

Mr Archer said: “I recognise the importance of maintaining a positive dialogue with the harbour users in the interests of a successful harbour and town centre. The council will always look to achieve the best outcomes within the context of significant financial challenges.

“We always listen to the opinions and views of our stakeholders, and in this instance, their opposition to our plans was loud and clear. We have responded to their concerns, and will not proceed with the changes to the night-watch service at Macduff Harbour.

“We want to continue our positive dialogue with harbour users, as we develop facilities to ensure that we provide a modern commercial harbour that supports the regeneration of the surrounding area.”

Welcoming the announcement, Banffshire & Buchan Coast MSP Stewart Stevenson, who raised concerns with Aberdeenshire Council on the proposal to remove the service, said the views of the harbour users and the local community, coupled with the intervention of Macduff councillor Ross Cassie had been ‘pivotal’ in the decision to retain the service.

Councillor Ross Cassie added: “I’m delighted with this outcome, and I’m grateful to the Director for taking on board the very powerful arguments that were made in favour of the night watch, both in Committee last week and also by the harbour users and the local community.

“This gives us good foundations on which to go forward and continue the regeneration of Macduff as a vibrant port.”

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