Change of council venue considered

Fraserburgh's Council Chambers
Fraserburgh's Council Chambers

Members of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee considered whether to move their meetings to a different venue at a meeting recently.

Stark divisions appeared in the committee between those who wish to stay in the existing Council Chambers on Saltoun Square, to protect local heritage and encourage town centre regeneration, and those who wish to move to a more spacious venue, at the new Swimming Pool and Community Facility.

It is thought that any change of venue would affect six meetings of the Area Committee per year. Councillors considered a report and engaged in a debate on the issue.

At the meeting, Fraserburgh and District councillors Charles Buchan, Ian Tait and Brian Topping agreed that there was not enough information in the report on which to make a final decision on a potential venue change.

Following debate, councillors Buchan, Tait and Topping, along with councillors John Cox and Michael Roy, won a vote to delay the decision. The motion was carried on the chair’s casting vote.

Councillors Duncan, Gray, Findlater, Partridge and Watt voted, unsuccessfully, for an amendment to move committee meetings to the Swimming Pool and Community Facility.

Commenting after the meeting, Councillor Charles Buchan said: “A proposal was put forward today to relocate the Area Committee Meeting from the historic town centre to the new Community Centre and Pool, on the grounds that the facilities at the new pool building were of a higher standard.

“I admit the historic Saltoun Chambers has been sadly neglected in the past, with broken downpipes causing green growth on the frontage, grass growing in the guttering, limited toilet facilities, and the disgrace of the “loss of face” statue of Lord Saltoun which has gone unrepaired for years.

“However a budget of over £100,000 has been made available for updating the Chambers. Nevertheless, a group of Troup and Banff councillors, supported by Cllr Michael Watt, still pushed for a relocation to the Pool. We want time to consult the community and heritage groups, and to work out an over view about how the present Chambers can attract increased usage, and how to fit it in with the regeneration of the whole town centre package.”