World class marina plan

Dredger at Port Edgar Marina.
Dredger at Port Edgar Marina.

A new chapter in the history of Port Edgar Marina is set to begin within days.

The former naval base was wound up in 1980 with Lothian Regional Council taking over the facility.

Since then, the city council, which owns the land, and latterly Edinburgh Leisure has managed both the marina and the sailing school.

Despite numerous attempts by the council to regenerate the marina through a mix of housing and commerical enterprise, the facility, through lack of funding, has fallen into a neglected state.

The dedicated marina users have witnessed little or no investment in recent years.

But there is now light at the end of the tunnel.

From Tuesday, April 1, Port Edgar Holding Ltd (PEHL) will take over its day-to-day running.

Its aim is to tranform the marina into one of the country’s top sailing facilities.

PEHL was awarded a 30- year lease back in October and already major developments are underway with the company investing a six-figure sum to dredge the marina basin and replace the former fixed pier crane with a mobile hoist to lift large boats in and out of the water.

Future plans will include demolishing some of the marina’s older buildings to make way for a new hub, which will house marina offices, a restaurant/cafeteria/bar and a yacht club.

Russell Aitken, of PEHL said: “We have been dreaming of this day for the past seven years.

“We have always seen the potential in Port Edgar and we believe the nation’s capital deserves a world class marina.”

He said: “Currently we are dredging around 23,000 cubic metres of silt from the basin entrance and pontoons.

“This will allow larger boats to berth at Port Edgar.”

There are currently around 280 boats berthed at the marina but dredging deeper would allow larger vessels to use the facility.

Russell added: “While we cannot compete with the west coast for sailing, our unique selling point is accessibility – people can set sail after just a 30-minute drive from Edinburgh.”

Russell, who also runs the Bosun’s Locker, said the marina will be the core business during the first five years.

The long-term plan will be commercial opportunities and making the marina a more pleasant visitor attraction.

The change in ownership has been welcomed locally.

Terry Kirchin, Port Edgar Yacht Club commodore, said: “Port Edgar was allowed to decay through years of neglect. But the new owners have shown a major commitment to the site and the future looks very promising.”