Community Council get their say

Council Chambers, Saltoun Square.
Council Chambers, Saltoun Square.

Members of Fraserburgh’s Community Council this week had their say on a decision by the Banff and Buchan Area Committee to, temporarily, abandon their meetings at the historic, town centre building.

Chair fo the community group Ronnie McNab, vice chair Mary Melville, and the group’s secretary George Esslemont attended this month’s meeting of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee on Tuesday.

Fraserburgh’s community councillors had been invited to have their say at the committee by Councillor Ian Tait at the last meeting of the group, who, himself, has opposed the decision made by his fellow councillors to leave the Chambers.

Mr McNab, addressing the ten Banff and Buchan elected officials on Tuesday, said he was “bitterly disappointed” about their decision.

“The town chambers is an integral part, as far as we’re concerned, of the town centre.”

Ms Melville, meanwhile, warned councillors off using the Council Chambers as an area for political point scoring, paraphrasing the words of John F. Kennedy in saying: “Ask not what Fraserburgh can do for you, but what you can do for Fraserburgh.”

Mr Esslemont had listed, meanwhile, alternative uses for the building and neighbouring, and disused former police station, adding: “We do not agree with Councillor Michael Watt to bulldoze the buildings, it would be grossly wrong to wipe away years and years of history,” and “We would ask that as with our own rules in the Community Council, and I’m sure it applies also the councillors, that they afford the residents of Fraserburgh a fairness in the way they treat the town’s facilities in whatever they decide with our town’s Chambers.”

Alternative uses for the Council Chambers mentioned by Mr Esslemont included renting our an easily accessible section to VisitScotland, and converting the old police station into a visitor attraction.

Fraserburgh and district councillor Charles Buchan, ahead of the meeting progressing, assured the community councillors that he was ‘on their side’, and that he hoped they would come back when plans regarding the future of the Council Chambers were nearer completion.