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10 December 2019Collapse of Gabions on Rosemarkie Beach

The majority of the foreshore around Chanonry Ness is owned by the Common Good Fund. The Common Good Fund is the responsibility of its Trustees who are collectively the elected members of the Highland Council. The Trustees the advice from "experts" who are usually Highland Council employees. The Community Council has no authpity in matters relating to the Common Good but as a matter of courtesy are usually contacted by the Trustees for our views on local matters. We also make a point of notifying the Trustees when see problems with Common Good Assets.  We were notified in early November of small scale damage to a gabion basket close to the newly installed section by the Rosemarkie Campsite and on 9th November wrote to the Trustees advising them of the damage and of the danger of collapse if no action was taken. The issue was discussed by the Highland Councillors and advisers at a ward meeting soon after but no action was taken. We monitored the situation and wrote again on 27th November to say that the damage had spread and a large section of the defences were in danger of total collapse.  The collapse occured three days later as reported in our third letter of 30th November

The failure to take early action will cost the Common Good many thousands of pounds but given a) the limitation of the organisational structure of the Common Good b) The severe financial restrictions of the the Highland Council c) the poor financial state of the Common Good Fund caused by underutilisation of its main assets (the Campsites at Fortrose and Rosemarkie) and d) the ownership structure preventing local action it is not surprising that the coastline is collapsing and that the coastal defences are becoming ever more ineffective. 

The only encouraging news in this story is that the Highland Council are now trying to organsie a meeting with all interesting parties in an attempt to address the situation.

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