Fraserburgh pensioner’s group to be given ownership of hall they already thought they owned

Aberdeenshire Council's Woodhill House headquarters.
Aberdeenshire Council's Woodhill House headquarters.

A Fraserburgh pensioner’s group could be given ownership of a town centre hall for free next week after finding out they didn’t already own it.

Aberdeenshire Council have recommended that the Area Committee approve the sale of the Pensioners’ Hall on Union Grove to Fraserburgh Old Age Pensioners’ Association without payment.

Confusion arose about who owned the hall after a title investigation was undertaken by Legal and Governance when another local club asked about a possible collaboration between themselves and the Association.

Up until the investigation it was assumed by both the Council and the Association that the hall was fully owned by the Association.

However documentation uncovered by the Legal and Governance team found that the land on which the hall was built had remained in the Council’s possession ever since Lord Saltoun sold it to Fraserburgh Town Council in 1921.

A letter from 1951 uncovered by the Association indicates that the Town Council did not wish to sell the land but was prepared to let the site to the Association.

But there is no evidence that such a lease was ever granted or that anything was ever written down on a formal basis.

Having recently realised that they own the land on which the hall is built the Council now recommend giving it back to the Association.

The Council states that:“With the exception of the making available of the land required by the Hall neither Fraserburgh Town Council or any of its successors appear to have made any financial contribution towards the construction, maintenance or running of the Hall with the Association meeting all costs on the assumption that they did in fact own the Hall.”

The Council also noted that the Association has made a “good job running the hall” and that they would be left in a vulnerable position should they not be giving ownership of it.

Property Services have advised the Council that they consider the value of the land on which the Hall is built assuming vacant possession as being £40,000.

The decision on the halls future will be made at the Banff and Buchan Area Committee on May 3.