Tweed Dock grant bid clears the first hurdle

Hopes have been raised that funding can be secured to replace the damaged old wooden alignment jetty at Tweed Dock.

Thursday, 20th October 2016, 9:19 am
Updated Tuesday, 25th October 2016, 5:52 pm
Berwick Harbour chief executive Alan Irving

Berwick Harbour Commission’s application for £2million funding from the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund has passed its first hurdle.

Alan Irving, chief executive of Berwick Harbour Commission, said: “This is a fantastic result as it means our jetty project is considered worthy of further consideration.

“There is no guarantee that we will be successful at Stage 2 but we are still in the process and that must be considered encouraging news.”

The timber alignment jetty is an essential navigational aid for ships entering and leaving the Tweed Dock but it is beginning to break up and is slowly collapsing. If it were to collapse, the port would immediately close to all cargo vessels.

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“The jetty needs to be replaced as it is beyond economic repair,” Mr Irving told members of Berwick Probus Club. “It is estimated that the cost to replace the jetty will be in excess of £3million.

“If we can successfully secure funding and be able to replace the alignment jetty, it will provide us with a strong platform from which we can, with confidence, seek to encourage new business to the port.”

The bid has received the backing of Berwick MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan.

The harbour commission’s original proposal was to replace the jetty and include a passenger landing facility which would allow cruise ships to anchor and transfer passengers to shore.

It also incorporated a mini-marina facility for up to 20 leisure craft but would have doubled the cost.

“The first priority is to secure the port as a commercial cargo handling facility,” said Mr Irving. “We would very much like to see a small marina type facility in Berwick but it must be sited outwith the Tweed Dock, certainly whilst the Tweed Dock remains a cargo handling port.

“Cargo ships and pleasure craft simply do not mix for several reasons. One is safety whereby if you were to have pleasure craft and cargo vessels both within the confines of Tweed Dock then that would be an accident just waiting to happen.

“There are also strict international security regulations relating to cargo vessels which effectively rule out accommodating pleasure craft in the same vicinity.

“I would hope that in time we might be able to site a small marina facility outwith the Tweed Dock area but this will not be an easy task as the River Tweed estuary is designated a SSSI and Ramsar site and is subject to the strict control of Natural England.”