Sailing trust submits bid for Port Edgar Marina

Schoolchildren hold a campaign to save the sailing school from closure. Picture: contributed
Schoolchildren hold a campaign to save the sailing school from closure. Picture: contributed
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A RUNDOWN marina which is threatened with closure has been thrown a lifeline by the sailors who use the facility.

The Scottish Sailing Trust, formed in the wake of Edinburgh Leisure’s decision to close the watersports centre at Port Edgar Marina, has submitted a bid to buy the facility from the recreation body.

And trustees are hopeful their £50,000 proposal will result in plain sailing from here on in.

The trust, which plans to become a registered charity, only began amassing its war chest four weeks ago raising over £13,000 – £6000 from individuals, £5000 from local businesses and £2000 from Gylemuir Primary School – with the remaining monies being supplied by South Queensferry chandlery shop Bosun’s Locker.

The trust aims to continue to provide a full range of courses and activities to the 14,000 people who regularly attend the facility each year.

Trustee Ian Hards said: “This is a positive step forward. We think we have submitted a very strong bid as we have community backing while also meeting Edinburgh Leisure’s own valuation.

“We hope to receive word on whether the bid is successful in two to three weeks’ time.

“People come from all over Scotland to learn the basics or refine their skills at Port Edgar so it would be a huge loss and a tragedy if it was allowed to wither and die.”

Outlining the trust’s bid, he added: “Our bid provides a unique opportunity for the community to be involved in the development of the sailing school moving forward. Many people and organisations have already provided significant help and support.

“The charitable structure also provides an excellent means to ensure local schools, disadvantaged and disabled people are assisted to participate whilst also providing additional opportunities for fundraising, as some grant awarding bodies will only 
provide grants to charities.”

Edinburgh Leisure, the trust that runs the Capital’s sports facilities on behalf of the city council, is set to withdraw funding next year because of rising operation costs.

The marina, which sits just west of the Forth Road Bridge, will be shut down if it is not taken over. Back in 2011 bosses at the leisure firm revealed that it would require an estimated £2.5 million to be spent on maintenance to keep the 
facility open.

The marina had once been in line for a £14m revamp but the plans were dropped because the economic downturn made it impossible to find a developer.

Graeme Gardiner, director of operations for Edinburgh Leisure, said: “We have had a bid from The Scottish Sailing Trust and we are currently reviewing this offer. We will be seeking to make a decision as soon as possible to allow time to conclude the transfer arrangements.”