Councillors have backed plans for a new national fish producers headquarters in Fraserburgh and have hailed the development as “another big step” in the regeneration of the town.
Portside Quays Limited had applied to Aberdeenshire Council seeking permission to build four new buildings on a disused site at South Harbour Road next to the miniature railway and old dismantled railway line.
The Scottish White Fish Producers Association (SWFPA) will use the largest of the new buildings as its new headquarters.
The new two-storey facility is expected to feature a seafood centre of excellence and will provide training opportunities related to the fishing industry.
A second office building will be built along with two smaller business units however no occupants have been found for them so far.
The application was unanimously supported by the Banff and Buchan Area Committee on Tuesday, March 29.
Councillor Doreen Mair said: “I have watched the site for many a long year and it’s always been a priority for me to see that be developed for the benefit of the local economy, it’s been too long a neglected area bringing little value to the town.
“The Scottish White Fish Producers HQ is another hugely important project of which will anchor the importance of the north-east in future proofing the fishing and processing industries for the whole of the UK bringing employment opportunities and training for our fishermen and development of our landings to add value to the product.
“The other proposed new buildings are also much-needed. We have a real scarcity of available units which stifles growth and it is hoped that this will begin to address that shortfall.
“It’s another big step in the regeneration of Fraserburgh and its industrial and commercial opportunites.”
Councillor Mair added that the development was “certainly a boost for the town”.
Council leader, councillor Andy Kille, said he was “very happy” to support the application and said: “I believe that having this organisation based in Fraserburgh will be hugely beneficial to the town for all sorts of reasons.”
Meanwhile councillor Brian Topping said the development was “good news for the town” and added: “This site has been derelict for so long, I think this should be a massive improvement and it brings all sorts of benefits to the town including jobs.”
Prior to the meeting the plan received the backing of the Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners.
In a letter the harbour office said: “The proposal for the SWFPA national headquarters, which will include a seafood centre of excellence, has been a long-held ambition for Fraserburgh.
“It will bring enormous benefits to the town such as teaching people fish processing skills and it will include a product development facility.
“It will also provide training for a wide variety of courses e.g. health and safety, life-saving, fire-fighting and watch-keeping.
“This can provide an invaluable route into employment for local people, in particular school and college leavers who are looking to take up a career in the fishing industry both on and offshore.”
It added: “This proposed development will stimulate investment and regeneration in the town, and it will help Fraserburgh be a major player in sectors such as fishing and offshore renewables.”