Pledge money to be discussed

Aberdeenshire councillors are due to discuss the allocation of nearly £13 million in savings at today’s Policy and Resources Committee, a range of schemes having been put forward for investment in the ‘100 Days Pledge’.

In early June, the Aberdeenshire Alliance launched its vision for the next five years and set out six key areas for development which would receive a one-off cash investment to boost activity.

The Alliance made a 100 day pledge to consider plans for delivering the six areas, with a particular focus on bringing forward proposals which are planned for later years.

The proposals focus on six key areas of investing in towns and villages; providing assistance to small businesses; boosting tourism and hospitality industries; increasing pre-school and nursery provision; increasing care at home services for older people; and accelerating plans to improve roads, provide affordable housing and replacing schools and care homes.

Local area committees, working alongside communities and partners, have put forward 68 schemes worth £5.8 million for investing in towns and villages.

Schemes include a community hall in St Combs, town centre improvements to Fraserburgh, Macduff and Banff, renovation of the Alford Heritage Centre, Newmachar Hall, upgrades to the Balmedie Leisure Centre and the renovation of the
Stonehaven Clock Tower.

Proposals to assist small businesses include an independent study on the whitefish processing sector, a one-stop advice and information telephone number for all business enquiries, an apprenticeship scheme in agriculture and a power cable into Fraserburgh Harbour to support future business growth.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Jim Gifford said: “The 100 day pledge has enabled us to focus attention and resources on those key areas which we felt would benefit from one-off funding and to bring forward activities that were planned for future years. The response from communities has been very positive and has helped us to focus on initiatives and projects that are of the highest priority.”

Co-ordinator of the Independents, Councillor Norman Smith, explained: “We have used clear criteria for setting out those projects with the highest need and this has ensured a fair and consistent process. Every community will benefit in some way from the investment and we now look forward to seeing the
results.”

The bids for investment will be discussed at Policy and Resources Committee tomorrow, and a plan agreed for delivering the projects.