Rising fees at Stonehaven harbour have got businesses feeling the squeeze, with another company having written to the council.
Haynes Macdonald Services (HMS), a small part-time concern providing recreational powerboat training, dive charters and sea safaris out of Stonehaven, have said that they may have to leave owing to the fees increase.
In a letter to the council Paul Haynes (pictured) and Rod MacDonald said: “We wish to make AC (Aberdeenshire Council) aware that, should it choose to proceed with the 10% taxation, this will make HMS uncompetitive and commercially unviable.
As a consequence, we will unfortunately be forced to shift our operations elsewhere or cease commercial trading. While we do not consider our business activity to be of notable worth, any loss of local business can only be to the detriment of the town.”
However, a spokesperson for the council said: “In 2013, the Harbour Rates and Dues introduced a new charge for charter vessels involved in commercial activities, such as crew transfers, deliveries, offshore transit, professional training and equipment testing.
“This rate was set at a flat fee of 10% of the income generated per trip up to a preset maximum charge.
‘‘Following dialogue with operators in this sector, a transitional support arrangement was put in place to reduce this charge to 5% for the 2013/14 financial year.
‘‘The proposed Aberdeenshire Harbour Rates and Dues for 2014 – 2015 have yet to be agreed, approved and published.”