Grant bid stalls due to definition

End of the line: The marker cairn at Ferryden.'Staff photograph
End of the line: The marker cairn at Ferryden.'Staff photograph

A £24,000 scheme to save a marker cairn at Scurdie Ness from coastal erosion and restore navigation markers on the South Esk estuary has stalled as a result of funding problems.

A grant application had been lodged with the European Fisheries Fund – which is administered by Angus Council – by Ferryden Community Council and Montrose Port Authority, but members heard at their meeting last week that the application would not be progressed.

Mark Johnston, from Angus Council’s community learning and development service, who had assisted with the application, said there had been a difference in the definition of the required work.

He said: “Someone has taken the decision that the work required is maintenance, rather than restoration, which is not covered by the grants.

“If someone says it’s maintenance and repair, rather than renovation and preservation, it’s hard to argue. The only thing we can do is look around for other funding, although there isn’t a lot around.”

The cairn, which was provided by the community council in 2005, is one of the finishing points for the annual Great Outdoors Challenge coast-to-coast walk, but is threatened by wave action which could cause its collapse.

An annual event, the walk takes place every October with entrants leaving from around a dozen starting points along the west to finishing points scattered along the coast between Arbroath and Fraserburgh, although all walkers have to report to the organisers’ control centre in Montrose.

The community council funded the project itself, as it was hoped more people would be attracted to the village and surrounding area to finish their trek.

The group was counting on a successful grant application to help to protect the part of the coastline on which the stands and preventative work was estimated roughly at around £8,000.

The Angus Coastal European Fisheries Fund was established to support projects that bring economic benefit to the county’s coastal area, with a strong focus on fisheries and maritime related activity.

Montrose Port Authority was also pursuing funding for the restoration of the Grade B listed 19th century navigation markers at the entrance to the harbour’s navigation channel.

Councillor David May suggested there might be alternative channels of funding open to the scheme and said he would pursue the matter with the council’s funding department.

Meanwhile chairman Gordon Brown said that although the outcome is disappointing, the scheme was “not dead in the water yet”.