Approval granted for hotel and restaurant in Fraserburgh's former Clydesdale Bank building

The regeneration of Fraserburgh town centre has taken a significant step forward with the approval of plans to transform the former Clydesdale Bank building into a hotel, bar and restaurant.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 7:30 am
The former Clydesdale Bank building in Fraserburgh is set to be converted into a hotel and restaurant.

Plans put forward by North East Scotland Preservation Trust to turn the building into a hotel, bar and restaurant were approved by members of the Aberdeenshire Council’s Banff and Buchan Area Committee last week.

The application is the second phase of a larger regeneration project which includes the adjacent former John Trails book shop on Mid Street. The two sites will be combined to create a larger bar, restaurant and hotel.

The proposed hotel will have 15 rooms while the restaurant will cater for up to 42 covers.

As part of the plans, a number of improvement and alteration works will be carried out, including the installation of a new internal lift, roof repairs and the installation of solar panels.

Prior to the meeting the application had received six objections regarding lack of parking, impact on amenity of residents at the nearby sheltered housing complex, and congestion in the town centre.

But Aberdeenshire Council officers had recommended the application be approved, stating that it would “provide economic benefits” and would also “enhance” the building’s appearance while also protecting its built heritage.

At the meeting councillors raised concerns regarding a lack of parking but overall voiced their support for the plans.

Councillor Charles Buchan said the town was “still very, very deficient” in hotel provision which had been to the “detriment” of its local businesses and industries.

He explained that a UK conference event held at the Lighthouse Museum a few years ago attracted over 100 delegates, but they had to stay in hotels as far away as Aberdeen.

He added: “I think this is an absolutely fantastic project for the town. It’s a great extension to the John Trail building and I 100 per cent support it.”

Committee chair councillor Doreen Mair also supported the plan.

She said: “Fraserburgh is extremely short of hotel space. It is hampering our businesses and it is also hampering tourism. In light of the past year I think a lot more folk will be taking local holidays as well as foreign holidays when they can go there and we want to attract them to Fraserburgh.

“This will absolutely transform the town centre.”

And Councillor Brian Topping said while he appreciated the concerns raised by objectors, a lot of “hard work, dedication and commitment” had been put in to try to improve the town, and the application would create jobs and increase tourism in the town.

Councillor Hamish Partridge said the plan was a “good news story” for Fraserburgh.

The application was unanimously approved by the committee.

The former bank site sits within the Fraserburgh Conservation Area which is receiving funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland and Aberdeenshire Council as part of the Fraserburgh 2021 Conservation Areas Regeneration Scheme (CARS) and Town Heritage project which is promoting regeneration of the town centre.