Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner. Facebook Messenger An icon of the facebook messenger app logo. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Facebook Messenger An icon of the Twitter app logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. WhatsApp Messenger An icon of the Whatsapp messenger app logo. Email An icon of an mail envelope. Copy link A decentered black square over a white square.

Banff Harbour: Contract torn up amid fears storms could destroy pier left in disrepair

After a turbulent few months, the council has ended its Banff Harbour contract with Lochshell Ltd

Frantic council bosses have ripped up their contract with engineers in an urgent effort to get a troubled repair project at Banff Harbour back on track.

Lochshell Ltd started work at the historic port earlier this year, but later argued that the £1.3 million scheme was far more complex than advertised.

Following months of dispute, engineers walked out in August claiming Aberdeenshire Council had still not provided the blueprints needed to make progress.

Management at Wick-based Lochshell say the actual cost of the upgrades required could be more than double the original estimate.

The two sides have remained at a stalemate for the past month, with the port left in a state of disarray.

Now the local authority has terminated the contract and vowed to restart the scheme “as quickly as possible”.

Our new video shows the abandoned works – 

The council’s harbour chief, Philip McKay, told us today that officers are working urgently on the matter.

He said: “We are now exploring all possible approaches towards the immediate resumption and timely completion of this important project.”

The harbour has been left in a state of upheaval amid the contract dispute. Picture by Jason Hedges

Banff Harbour contract row finally over

An email sent to harbour users states: “We expect the physical works to recommence on site around the middle of this month.

“The primary focus of the works on site over the coming weeks will be to quickly and safely secure the main structural element of the east pier during the hopefully favourable weather window.

“At this time, we expect this phase of the works to be complete around the start of November.”

The e-mail adds that further works will continue beyond then “if weather conditions permit”.

But harbour users have been told it is likely the wider project will be suspended until spring – with the port closed until that time.

Equipment has been left idle at the port for a month. Picture by Jason Hedges

As well as fixing a ramshackle jetty that crumbled into the sea in 2017, Lochshell was tasked with strengthening the east pier.

The unfinished scheme has left the it partly exposed – and unlikely to survive severe winter storms in its current predicament.

Chairman of the local authority’s Banff Harbour advisory committee, John Cox, welcomed an end to the “total uncertainty” caused by the spat.

Councillor John Cox at the port today. Picture by Jason Hedges

‘We could lose the pier…’

He said: “There have been a lot of worries with no work being carried out.

“The project was to protect the harbour, to ensure it does not get any more damaged.

“But left in this state of disrepair, there are massive concerns that the problem has been escalated.

“There is the fear that, in its current state, a major storm could mean we lose the pier.

“That would be devastating.

“Harbour users don’t care who is going to do the work, the main thing for now is to preserve the pier.”

John Cox is relieved to finally see some progress now the Banff Harbour contract has been ended. Picture by Jason Hedges

Hopes for a brighter future

Mr Cox is optimistic that further discussions can soon take place on how to enhance Banff Harbour.

He wants it to become “a jewel of a marina on the Moray Firth coast”.

“With a more strategic approach it could have huge tourism potential and create real economic benefit,” the Banff councillor added.

Harbour users are being advised there will be no dues required until the port reopens.

And customers who wish to remove their boat will have the cost covered by Aberdeenshire Council.

Could the troubled harbour one day be a “jewel” of the region? Picture by Jason Hedges.

In a statement to Aberdeen Journals last month, Lochshell claimed the scheme was “set to fail”.

Management said the harbour’s designer, noted civil engineer Thomas Telford, would be “quaking in his grave” at the current state of the 17th Century port.

Lochshell today declined to comment on the latest development.

The company offered more details on the problems with the complex project in the exclusive statement.