An open letter to VisitScotland and an MSP has been penned by a local councillor following a petition to keep the town’s visitor information centre in Saltoun Square.
Fraserburgh and district councillor Ian Tait, along with members of Fraserburgh’s Community Council, had launched the petition following revelations that the centre could be moved to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.
Following the petition, which was available to sign in several town centre stores, the following letter is understood to have been issued to VisitScotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead and Fergus Ewing MSP, Minister for Tourism, by Councillor Tait.
The letter reads: “Fraserburgh community councillors undertook to distribute and gather in the petitions against moving the Visitor Information Centre (VIC) from the Broadgate to the Lighthouse Museum and this has now been done. I am delighted with the results. Once again, I would like to pay tribute to the work done by community council members for the work they did to put out and gather in the petition sheets.
“Looking at the return sheets, I see they decided to concentrate on putting petitions into businesses in a very tight area in the town centre. Normally the sheets would be put out to all business all over the town and villages and surrounding area but it seems they wanted to emphasise that the petition was about the town centre. So this is a very tight and very small area in which there are businesses that do not ever take petitions such as the banks and money shops. Normally the big chain shops do not take petitions either but it appears that at least one did so this time and that was great. It is gratifying to know that even though the banks and some chain shops have a policy of not allowing any petition to be displayed on their counters, the staff themselves signed it.
“Normally, I would expect a petition to run for at least four weeks. But this time the petition sheets were only out for something like two weeks less early closing days and Sundays. This short time will allow us to make a sample of people’s views known to VisitScotland and to the Scottish Government Minister in good time before the final decision is taken. I have sent the petition and petition sheets to the Chief Executive of VisitScotland with a copy of the petition to the Scottish Minister.
“Bearing all this in mind I am delighted to say that 1025 people signed the petition against the move and considering the small area covered, the restricted number of outlets and the short timescale, the results show an enormous opposition to Visitscotland’s plans to move the VIC to the Lighthouse Museum. Online, about 95% of people said they were against the move. So the community councillors did a good job.
“I sincerely hope that VisitScotland and the Minister will heed the views of the local people and stop this crazy move which would be so damaging to our town centre. We need every activity we can in the town centre just as the Scottish government is saying. If VisitScotland make this move, they would not be helping us but would actually be damaging us. This petition sends a very clear signal that local people wish to keep the VIC in the town centre.
“And so finally, I would like to thank everyone who signed the petition to help the town centre and who wanted to see the visitors to the area to come to the town centre first, going to the VIC to get the information they want and then visiting the places of interest in and around the town including the Lighthouse Museum.”