A final version of the Port Masterplan outlining a 20-year vision for the development of Stornoway Harbour has been published by Stornoway Port Authority.

The Port Authority has also published its Annual Report for 2016 and will be holding its annual public meeting tomorrow (Thursday, May 25) in An Lanntair at 7pm.

Particular aspects of the finalised Port Masterplan and the Annual Report will be presented to stakeholders and members of the public at this public meeting. The presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.

In terms of the Masterplan, community consultation over the draft proposals proved positive and the Masterplan will concentrate on three areas: the creation of a Deep Water Port, development at Goat Island and Newton Basin, and the leisure and amenity facilities around the Cromwell Street Quay area.

The Sandwick Bay development, included as an option in the Draft Masterplan, has been removed in favour of these three areas.

The Deep Water Port is seen as essential for the long-term future of the Port and a sustainable island economy. The multifunctional developments at Goat Island address the needs of a variety of business areas while development of the Cromwell Street Quay area is being seen as a potential asset for the community and for tourists alike.

The Port Authority is driving forward with the preparation of a business plan for all of the developments and with investigation and designs for the Goat Island works.

The 2016 Annual Report now published includes reference to each of the above projects.

The report detailed some interesting developments, including the fact that 2016 saw a 49 per cent increase in cruise ships, compared to 2015, and a 64 per cent increase in cruise ship passengers.

Also, there was a  17 per cent increase in ferry passengers and 12,359 more cars travelled on the Ullapool to Stornoway ferry compared to the previous year. Turnover was nearly £3.3million.

There were some changes to the membership of the Port Authority board during 2016. Dr Neil Galbraith retired after many years of service, while two new members joined. They were Ian McCulloch, who had a career in the oil and gas industry, and Margaret Ann Macleod, Brand Development Director for Harris Tweed Hebrides. There have been only six female board members at the Port previously, so the appointment of Margaret Ann is particularly welcome.

Interestingly, an old picture reproduced in this year’s Annual Report shows that some of the ideas for developing the Port have been around for a long time.

A picture stretched across two pages depicts the masterplan of Stornoway commissioned by Lord Leverhulme in 1919. The drawing of the harbour was particularly detailed and a proposed footbridge can be seen — right where one is proposed in the 2017 Masterplan — across to the Castle Grounds from the end of Cromwell Street Quay.

The original masterplan was drawn by the famous architect and artist Thomas Raffles Davison who undertook work on Port Sunlight for Lord Leverhulme and also for the Lewis War Memorial. 

The drawing, exhibited at the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition in 1920, is on permanent display in the boardroom at Amity House, where the Port Authority’s offices are located.

Looking to the future, Port Authority Chief Executive Alex MacLeod said: “We are now entering an exciting era for the Port Authority, where the projects within the Port Masterplan could have a transformational effect on the Port and the island economy.”

The Masterplan and the 2016 Annual Report are both available at stornowayportauthority.com under the ‘About Us’ section.