Works begins on Banff's historic Tolbooth Hotel as part of Conservation Area regeneration efforts

Work recently started in Banff to transform the exterior of the former Tolbooth Hotel as part of efforts to regenerate the town and its Conservation Area.

Over the course of the next few months traditional materials and working methods will be used to repair timber windows and doors, the roof, install new cast iron rainwater goods and reharl external walls with lime.

The work is grant funded by Historic Environment Scotland (HES) and Aberdeenshire Council through the Banff Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS).

The Tolbooth is one of the five buildings identified as priority projects under the scheme, being prominent in the town and requiring extensive work to their exteriors.

It is a Category B listed building, which in its current form dates from 1801, adapted from an earlier building which stood on the same site dating from the early 1700s.

In recent times the upper floors have fallen out of use, whilst the ground floor retail premises continue as a takeaway, where improvement works were carried out through a former Townscape Heritage Initiative scheme in 2009.

Councillor Glen Reynolds (Banff and District), Chair of the Banff Development Partnership, said: “This is great news for the centre of Banff and will transform an iconic landmark in the town.

“It is a reassurance to the public that much work is taking place by Council Officers who operate behind the scenes until the fruit of their work is seen in projects such as this.

“This is part of the ongoing regeneration work which will transform the area and will demonstrate that Banff is open for business and open to projects small and large, which will play a part in maintaining and transforming the beauty of our town that is Banff.”

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Peter Argyle, said: “The council has been focusing regeneration resources on Banff, along with Macduff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead for some time now, with a lot of work taking place to bring forward projects such as this.

“The delivery of this project, and others taking place in the four towns, is a visible sign of progress and return on our investment, and makes a real difference not only to the local built environment, but to the way locals and visitors feel about the town.

“Regeneration encompasses a whole range of work for the council, and the delivery of physical projects is only part of that, but it is a significant part which can really add to the sense of progress and I look forward to seeing the effect the work on the hotel has.”

CARS is an initiative set up by HES in 2007 to provide funding to conservation areas around Scotland with the aim of regenerating towns that may have fallen into hardship and are at risk of losing their historical merit.

Banff was granted CARS funding in 2014, with £500,000 from HES and £115,000 from Aberdeenshire Council, to focus on buildings on both Bridge Street and Low Street.  

Other works being carried out by the Banff CARS include the Smiddy in Old Market Place, which has been transformed from a derelict building to a silversmith’s workshop set to open this summer.

Project Officer for the Banff CARS, Yvonne Clark, said: “It is wonderful to see works being carried out in the streets of Banff to some of the most prominent buildings in the town centre.

“We look forward to further works being carried out to other historic buildings in Banff’s conservation area over the summer months before the project comes to a close next March.”

Small grants are still available to property owners on Bridge Street and Low Street to carry out external repairs to their properties.

For more information on Banff CARS or the small grants available, please contact Yvonne Clark on 01467 535984 or by email: yvonne.clark2@aberdeenshire.gov.uk