Maritime centre in college’s safe hands

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The Buchan Area Committee of Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to transfer the former Peterhead Maritime Heritage Centre to Banff and Buchan College.

Following a meeting in Peterhead last week, local councillors decided the sale would enhance opportunities for local learners in a specialised sector which fits directly with the Energetica project.

The college has been leasing the former heritage centre at the town’s Lido since July 2010 and this latest step builds on these existing partnership arrangements.

It already runs educational courses at the facility, but the building was designed as a museum, which was unfortunately no longer viable.

The college has already installed a simulator for nautical training which was custom built to fit into the space available.

With plans to further develop the learning centre into a specialist centre for nautical studies, the college wants to invest to provide the best environment for students.

Chairman of the Buchan Area Committee, Stuart Pratt, said: “Transferring this building over for educational use not only secures its future, but also helps to improve the educational provision in the area, and boost the local economy.

“The college evidenced widespread support for the move from local industry, politicians and the community, so we were happy to offer our own support and we hope to see the new facility flourish.”

Chairman of Banff and Buchan College Board, Alan Findlay, said: “We want to invest in the building and the future of our students, and with ownership of the building we can justify the necessary expenditure.

“We are delighted to get such a positive endorsement from local councillors and can now look to a bright future for the college and its students in Peterhead.”

Many students attending courses already running at the facility come from outwith the area, staying in hotels and bed and breakfast establishments while completing their studies.

It is hoped the local economy will continue to benefit from local students and those from outwith the area alike.

As part of the process the college submitted evidence of business and community support for the venture, including some from fishing organisations and local engineering firms. The move is subject to confirmation that European funding partly used to fund the building of the former museum will not have to be repaid. Negotiations will now take place between Banff and Buchan College and Aberdeenshire Council officers to finalise the deal.