Legal fees for fishermen battling a landowner who wants to evict them from a historic Aberdeen harbour have spiralled to more than £50,000.
Earlier this year, Cove Fishermen’s Association lodged a petition with Aberdeen City Council asking them to note they have been ordered to remove their boats from Cove harbour.
The ongoing dispute goes back to April 2014 and in January this year the local authority ordered the landowner, consultant surgeon Pralhad Kolhe, to remove a number of obstructive boulders to allow public access. But more recently blockades, including boulders, have been placed at the harbour – appearing to prevent the fishermen from storing their vessels on the land.
Mr Kolhe, who owns the white house above the scenic Cove harbour and parts of the bay, has been engaged in a long-standing legal dispute with the nine men who store their boats in the harbour. The association has vowed to fight Mr Kolhe and it will face him in court for initial proceedings on January 19.
Further dates are to be confirmed but it’s hoped a decision on the case could be made as early as February.
Jim Adam, the chairman of the association, today said he wants the case concluded as soon as possible.
He said: “The sheriff will decide how the case will be heard in January. The actual court session will hopefully be in February. The sooner it is the better because costs are rising.”
An online petition backing the fishermen’s cause has so far attracted more than 11,000 signatures and members of the Cove community and beyond have held a number of fundraisers to help pay the association’s legal fees.
“The costs and solicitor bills are horrendous,” said Mr Adam.
“The costs are tens of thousands of pounds. It’s more than £50,000. He is fighting against the whole community of the harbour.
“It affects divers for example.
“Divers have to park their cars and walk down.
“We could be doing with more donations. More than half has come from our own pockets.
“People rely on this for part of our income which is why we are determined to keep it going.”
Mr Kolhe was contacted for comment relating to the case but did not respond.