Fraserburgh and district councillor Ian Tait has responded to VisitScotland this week regarding the proposed move of the visitor information centre (VIC) from Saltoun Square to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.
The councillor has recently, with members of the Fraserburgh Community Council, launched a petition to halt the move.
Speaking with The Fraserburgh Herald this week, Councillor Tait said that the old Banff and Buchan District Council gave the premises to VisitScotland and that they have never paid any rates, rent or maintenance costs since. He added further that the council also contributed towards staff costs.
He commented: “Visitors coming to the VIC in the town centre at present would get information about all the local places to visit including the lighthouse museum. It is one of Fraserburgh’s major attractions. They would then go and visit there, but if the VIC were moved to the lighthouse museum and visitors went there as their first port of call then there is no guarantee that they would then visit the town centre and spend in our shops there.
“The town centre shops would lose valuable and much needed trade. Indeed, when I was a director on the board of the lighthouse museum, we did a survey to see how many visitors to the museum said they would then go on to visit the town centre - the number was low, very low.”
Calling it a “damaging proposal”, to move the VIC, the councillor added: “The Banff and Buchan Area Committee has asked VisitScotland to meet us to review their proposal. I have written to the chief executive of VisitScotland to say this.
“Will he agree to meet us? That remains to be seen. VisitScotland is a quango funded by the Scottish Government and I have written to the Scottish Government Minister for Tourism, Fergus Ewing MSP, who told me he would ask his officials to investigate the situation.
“The petition I have put out with the help of community council members George Esslemont, Pauline Masson, Paul Henry and Sheila Souter will be sent to VisitScotland and will also be copied to Fergus Ewing.
“I would ask people to sign the petition and help our town centre. Time and time again my constituents complain to me about the town centre. This is a chance for them to help the town centre shops.
“It would be a tremendous help to sign the petition,” he said, adding his thanks again to the community council members who have helped.