A plastic surgeon embroiled in a long-running land dispute with fishermen has been ordered to remove a harbour blockade.
Pralhad Kolhe, who owns part of the bay at Cove on the outskirts of Aberdeen, provoked outrage when he ordered fishermen to remove their boats from the site more than a year ago.
The surgeon is currently locked in legal proceedings with the Cove Fishermen’s Association, which represents around ten boat owners, in an attempt to force them to remove their vessels from the site.
As legal proceedings continued last month, Mr Kolhe put in place giant boulders to block vehicular access to the quayside.
It was the latest in a string of clashes with the local fishing community, many of whom claim they rely on the harbour for their livelihood.
Now Aberdeen City Council officials have written to Mr Kohle to tell him to remove the blockade as it is blocking public access rights as laid out in the Land Reform act. Yesterday Cove councillor Stephen Flynn welcomed the development. He said: “This is excellent news, I’ve already had members of the local community expressing their delight at the situation.
“This has been ongoing for about a month now and it’s an eyesore and it is blocking the public’s access, which is completely unacceptable.”
He added: “It’s difficult for me to comment on the legal battle but I’m fully supportive of the fishermen’s cause. They have been there for a long, long time and their capacity to use the harbour should not be blocked by an individual.”
Mr Kolhe, who has lived in a house at the top of cliffs overlooking the harbour for years, previously put red warning tickets on cars parked in the area and put in place signage indicating that the harbour is private property.
However, residents have fished out of Cove harbour since the 1790s.
Jim Adam, the chairman of the Cove Fishermen’s Association, said the council’s decision was a “step in the right direction” but that the threat of eviction was still hanging over them.
Mr Adam said: “I don’t think it will affect our legal proceedings too much, as the threat of removing our vessels will still hang there, I think.”