Shop facelift scheme could help town centre

empty shops: A shop facelift scheme may help closed shops
empty shops: A shop facelift scheme may help closed shops

A scheme which helped Broch businesses in 2008 is being touted as a possible solution to help some of the town centre and surrounding area.

Fraserburgh councillor Brian Topping is asking the council to look into the possiblity of a shop facelift scheme which has been used in Fraserburgh before.

Almost 40 retailers in the town centre applied for the Aberdeenshire Council grant of up to £5,000 to renovate their shops both inside and out.

The scheme gave grants to business to improve their premises which would enhance the town centre. The shop facelift scheme helped many business under the old Banff and Buchan district council.

The Fraserburgh Property Enhancement Scheme was launched in September 2008 and was run by Aberdeenshire Council’s transportation and infrastructure service in conjunction with Aberdeenshire Towns Partnership (ATP) through Fraserburgh Futures Partnership.

The scheme, if revisted, could also be used to help already closed business becoming an eyesore.

“There are empty shops all over the country, Fraserburgh is no different. There are shops which have been empty for over ten years with weeds, broken guttering and wires making it an eyesore,” Councillor Topping told the Herald.

“I have asked the council to look into identifying who some of these shop owners are. If we could get a unified front between the traders and council and see if there is a way to help with a grant so stores are not just being boarded up.

“I understand there are many different reasons why a shop would close, be it someone retiring or they can’t afford it, and my sympathy goes out to them. An agreed system could really help the town’s image so it wouldn’t become an eyesore.”

A spokeswoman from Aberdeenshire Council said: “We injected almost £90,000 in a Property Enhancement Scheme in Fraserburgh town centre in winter 2008/spring 2009 which drew around £300,000 in total investment in the town centre. There are no current plans to repeat this exercise.

“The council does support businesses across Aberdeenshire and is keen to help start-ups and established companies grow whether it is signposting to funding or offering advice or business support grants.

“We can support businesses who wish to improve their trading position through access to the Mary Portas Master Classes. These were run very successfully earlier in 2011 and Fraserburgh businesses are invited to experience a free taster session for these courses on the August 4 at 6.00pm at the Hub.”