27 September 2021

Regeneration of Fraserburgh shortlisted in 2021 SURF Award for Most Improved Place

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

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

The awards are delivered by SURF in partnership 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 has responded to priorities which will improve the quality of life for those who live, work and visit the town.

Cllr 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 although our location presents us with challenges having 270 degrees of sea around us, it also gives us huge opportunities for delivering maritime industries both traditional and new and it's great to hear more people talking the town up and showing a pride in being from the Broch.

“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.”

Cllr 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 enabling local people to access the entire range of council services in one space, and providing 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, which was previously a derelict brownfield plot

• 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 is progressing to 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 popular 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 – both in terms of retail and services and hospitality and new start-up businesses in the town centre in the last year include a healthy and organic food retailer, a candy and gift maker and a clothing retailer. New restaurants and cafes have also added to a more dynamic town centre daytime and evening economy and the recently formed Business Association is gaining traction.

The Fraserburgh Enterprise Hub – opened in Spring 2019 - offers free and impartial assistance to entrepreneurs, start-ups and established and growth businesses and social enterprises and to-date has supported more than 50 new start-ups and over 150 existing enterprises.

The five category winners in the SURF Awards will be announced by Scottish Government Minister for Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth, Tom Arthur MSP, on the evening of Thursday, December 9 at the 2021 SURF Awards Presentation Dinner event in Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel.