Four towns report criticised by councillors

Fraserburgh town centre.
Fraserburgh town centre.

Banff and Buchan councillors have criticised the Aberdeenshire 4 Towns report after it was presented to them at the last meeting of the area committee.

Councillors had met in Fraserburgh on May 6 to discuss the report as part of the monthly Banff and Buchan Area Committee.

However, they were far from pleased with what the report presented, branding the ideas unoriginal. Ultimately, councillors decided to bring the report back to their next meeting so that feedback from their communities could be attained.

“I don’t see any jobs coming out of this. There are things on here which I don’t feel are appropriate, like compulsory purchase orders,” said the chair of the committee, Councillor John Cox.

The report had produced four action plans for Peterhead, Banff, Macduff and Fraserburgh, respectively, highlighting priorities and areas for improvement in each town.

For example, five strategic objectives were set out for Fraserburgh’s town centre, including “to secure the redevelopment, reuse or regeneration of high profile problem sites and buildings” and “to establish and promote an attractive shopping offer for locals and visitors.”

Projects, meanwhile, included redeveloping a former petrol station on Cross Street to student accommodation, and improving signage at the harbour for defined viewpoints and heritage features.

Councillors, though, were critical of the report regurgitating information that was already known.

“There’s various comments in here about the disappointing food and drink on offer - not much accomodation - we know these things anyway.

“I think this is a very limp report, unexciting, and has told us things we already know. What I’m concerned about, too, is the whole process.

“I personally feel out of the loop,” Councillor Brian Topping said, the author of the report not present at the meeting.

Councillor Ian Tait commented: “I’m extremely disappointed. What I am very,very concerned about is the way this report is being progressed.

“The results of these public consultations should have come back to this committee in the first instance.

“It cuts off the local ward members.

“This is a precedent that should not be allowed to proceed. I would agree agree with everybody who says the towns need regenerated.

“For Fraserburgh, I want to see this being dealt with properly.

“As far as I’m concerned, we have to get our constituents response to this document.”

Councillor Charles Buchan added his concerns, saying that the report did not have enough focus on jobs.

Councillors are expected to make recommendations based on the report to the policy and resources committee at their next meeting on May 27.