It will be the talk of the town as work starts this week to redevelop a prominent Fraserburgh building.
At the end of this month work will commence on the renovation of Saltoun Chambers and the town’s former Police Station.
The project will result in a newly restored Council Chambers and its merge with the vacant former Police Station next door.
The new facility will house council services, the Chambers themselves, meeting space for groups and an Enterprise Hub which, with the development of a support post, will aim to develop and support the town’s businesses, entrepreneurship and innovation.
However none of this can begin until two life-sized portraits are removed from the building.
Two portraits currently hang in the in the Chambers; One is of Sir Alexander Anderson, Baron Bailie of Fraserburgh from 1872 to 1887 and the other is of John Park, Provost of Fraserburgh 1893.
Both men were key figures in the history of the town. However the portraits are so large they will have to be hoisted out through the first floor window of the building.
That lift will take place tomorrow (Wednesday). They will then be taken to Mintlaw to the Aberdeenshire Museum Service HQ for safekeeping until the building work is completed when they will be returned to their home in Saltoun again.
Commenting on the works, Fraserburgh councillor Brian Topping, who was chair of the Fraserburgh Regeneration Group, said: “I would like to thank all the hard-working council officials who have managed to secure heritage funding, and also to the previous administration who had funding in place for the regneration of not only Fraserburgh but three other towns.
“I’m delighted that at long last the public will be able to see things begin to happen and I’m overjoyed that the works are now underway,” he added.
This work is all part of the Fraserburgh 2021 CARS Project (Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme). This project will see £5.8 million invested over the next few years in the recently designated conservation area in the heart of the town, bringing vacant, underused and neglected spaces back into use and improving the condition of the conservation area throughout.
Director of Infrastructure Services Stephen Archer leads on the regeneration project. He said: “The community will have an opportunity to give their views on how they would like to see this civic space improved at the first Super Saturday Event in Fraserburgh on May 13.
“Fraserburgh 2021 will have an information stand where people can find out more about the project, small grants scheme and see a plan of the public realm area and samples of some of the materials which could be used. The display will then be moved to the ‘Here for You Centre’ in the town centre for the next two weeks so as many people as possible can have a chance to give their views.”