Untapped Broch business potential must be unlocked urgently

Fraserburgh Town centre, untapped potential for business'
Fraserburgh Town centre, untapped potential for business'

The current untapped potential and business opportunities in the Broch are ripe for the picking, claim local folk, who believe that certain enterprises would thrive in the town.

In a follow-up to last week’s Herald report in the state of our town centre, we asked YOU what you think about the heart of Fraserburgh and what you would like to see.

The beach has been highlighted as one of the ways Fraserburgh could be revitalised

The beach has been highlighted as one of the ways Fraserburgh could be revitalised

Liz from Rosehearty told the Herald: “It’s a shame the shape the town centre is in just now. If they would only bring in something new. Fraserburgh hasn’t got much for anyone if they are on holiday here.

“There are so many secondhand shops, they need to bring in some more modern shops. A New Look store would be great here and also a petrol station where we can actually afford the petrol!”

One local person, who did not wished to be named, said: “Something in the town centre for the kids would be great. The business rates would need to be lowered as I believe it is the rates that are killing business’ in Fraserburgh.

“Maybe if they give business some cheap rates for a few years and then putting them up would attract some business.”

Business rates are set by the Scottish Government and are collected by Aberdeenshire Council. The Small Business Bonus Scheme was set up by the Scottish Government in 2010 and has different rates that are payable dependent on the rateable value of the business property.

But it is not just the lack of shops that people are worried about in the town centre. Rosie from Fraserburgh believes that Broad Street is a problem due to the road itself.

She said: “There isn’t enough road room down the street for cars and buses to get down. When lorries are doing deliveries it’s always busy and there is far too much pavement room around here. Business rates are far too high for shops to come into Fraserburgh as well.”

Hazel from Fraserburgh said: “We need a Primark. We get told to shop local but there is nothing in which to shop local.

“All the bigger shops are all outside the town - one in the centre of town or maybe even a centre would be good!”

Margaret from Fraserburgh said: “What has happened to the town centre is a shame. It’s fine for people who have a car as they can all go to Tesco, but there is nothing for someone who is older.”

Brocher Eleanorechoed those sentiments, adding: “We haven’t even got a grocers since Haldanes closed. I miss the Woolworths that used to be here - you could easily pop in when you were waiting for the bus, but you can’t do that now.”

Ann, who moved to Fraserburgh from Glasgow over ten years ago, said: “We need entertainment for adults and kids. I understand that we need to keep the locals here, but Aberdeenshire Council must see that in order to do this they need to give the folks what they want and listen to them.

“I have been around Fraserburgh and there is plenty of ground which could be utilised for these purposes absolutely plenty. I would love a day in council chambers to see how they tick and function and how they reach the poor decisions they do so often.

“I bet if there was a town petition to be signed regarding what people want you would find, apart from a small minority perhaps, that we all want the same for the town and doing this woudl create more employment. I have heard people from here and tourists refer to Fraserburgh as a ghost town... me being one of them.”

A spokeswoman from Aberdeenshire Council said: “Aberdeenshire Council supports businesses and is keen to help start-ups and established companies grow.

“Within Fraserburgh, the Mary Portas Training School will be extended following a successful pilot last year and will offer more retailers the chance to analyse and refine their offering with some new ideas to attract new customers too.

“In addition, the survive and thrive service provided through Enterprise North East Trust gives support and advice to companies who may be struggling and this again provides the tools for growth. In terms of tourism, Aberdeenshire Council continues to support the visitor information centre in Fraserburgh.

“More widely, a new strategy for Aberdeen City and Shire under the area tourism partnership is being developed to ensure that both providers and the public sector generate opportunities across the area for visitors to enjoy. I would encourage any local business keen to find out how we can support them to contact the economic development team to discuss issues from funding or training to development opportunities.”

Speaking to the Herald, Councillor Michael Watt agreed that attracting tourists to some of the natural assets like the beach could lead to some great business opportunities.

He said: “We do have serious issues with the town centre and we need to attract tourists so they can see the great natural asset we have in the Broch and its location.

“I believe we have the best beach in Scotland, not only is the beach great but what is on offer like surfing, kite surfing, water skiing in the bay, great scuba diving, how about the creation of a first class sailing school?

“There is also amazing opportunity to develop a great static van site from the beach along towards Philorth, to name a few things that are natural assets of Fraserburgh.

“There are no angling services offered from Fraserburgh or trips taking visitors along the coast to see some of the best seabird colonies in Europe, we have various species of dolphins and different types of whales including killer whales frequent the Moray Firth, numerous seal colonies both grey and the common varieties.

“We have the great uncut jewel on our doorstep awaiting the realisation of how rich we really are in natural resources at Fraserburgh.”