Fraserburgh shortlisted for Most Improved Place in Scotland Award

The continuing regeneration of Fraserburgh has been shortlisted in the coveted 2021 SURF Award for Most Improved Place in Scotland.

By Kevin McRoberts
Thursday, 30th September 2021, 4:08 pm
A wide range of projects have been carried out throughout Fraserburgh, regenerating and revitalising the town.

SURF – Scotland’s Regeneration Forum – showcases success in responding to regeneration challenges in communities across Scotland.

The awards are delivered by SURF with the Scottish Government and other national partners.

Aberdeenshire Council’s approach to regeneration in Fraserburgh has been driven by working in partnership and its Regeneration Action Plan is designed to improve the quality of life for those who live, work and visit the town.

One of the major projects undertaken in the town has been the transformation of the Faithlie Centre.

Councillor Doreen Mair, chair of the Banff and Buchan area committee, said: “Through local leadership, empowerment and building a sense of place, Fraserburgh is a town on the up. It still is, and will always be, a maritime town with significant reliance on fishing and seafood.

"However, Fraserburgh these days offers a much more diverse, varied and resilient economy as demonstrated with the creation of a new green energy hub.

“The people of Fraserburgh are used to reinventing themselves and responding to the challenges that come with being remotely located on the tip of Scotland’s north-east.

"And whilst some of the negative historic stereotypes may remain today, more people are talking the town up and showing a pride in being from the Broch.

The former John Trail bookshop is being turned into a hotel.

“Of course, we know more needs to be done and we need to continue to work hard to ensure that all of the excellent progress is not undone in the aftermath of Covid-19.”

Councillor Brian Topping, chair of the Fraserburgh Regeneration Development Partnership, added: “The plan has been built upon consultation with the local community, businesses and civic leaders and is focused enough to be deliverable, but flexible enough to evolve, which has been particularly important over the past year and a half.

“The plan is administered by Aberdeenshire Council but owned and governed by the Fraserburgh Regeneration Development Partnership – a committee which includes representation from local businesses, the harbour, academy and college, community council, Enterprise Hub and elected members.

“The transformation of Fraserburgh’s built environment has been significant across many parts of the town and through significant investment from the public and private sector and programmes of heritage and conservation reinstatement through the Fraserburgh 2021 initiative, the town is being lifted and renewed.”

Among the highlights featured in the award application were:

• The Faithlie Centre – completed in 2020, this is an award-winning architecturally-designed combination of heritage and contemporary approaches to bringing back two vacant listed properties in the heart of the town. The centre now provides a new council service point, a reinstated council chamber, third sector and employability support initiatives and the Enterprise Hub.

• Various historic building conservation projects to restore, protect and bring back into use some of the key heritage properties in the town centre, including the derelict former John Trail bookshop which is being resurrected into a small hotel.

• The creation of a small Japanese-themed public memorial garden on the site of the birthplace of the late entrepreneur Thomas Blake Glover, one of Fraserburgh’s most famous sons.

• The recent community-led, £1.2m public-accessible sports and running facility at South Links.

• Construction of a state-of-the art multi-functional building at the harbour, which will accommodate the Moray East Offshore Wind Operations and Maintenance (O&M) Hub

Meanwhile, the natural environment is one of the town’s biggest, but perhaps still under-explored, assets. The town beach, which is also a focus for future regeneration activity, is nationally renowned as a year-round windsurfing and water sports destination and further reinforces the distinct relationship between the people and the seas.

The town centre retains a high proportion of independent traders, and new restaurants and cafes have added to a more dynamic town centre daytime and evening economy.

The five category winners in the SURF Awards will be announced by Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, on Thursday, December 9 at the presentation event in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel.