25 January 2021

Significant investment continues to offer positive projects in Fraserburgh

The north-east coastal town of Fraserburgh is continuing to see progress on a raft of town centre and community improvements despite the Covid 19 pandemic.

For several years, Aberdeenshire Council - together with public, private and third sectors - has been working hard to bring about strategic change within the physical, economic and community environments of the Broch.

The Fraserburgh Regeneration Development Partnership was formed to oversee the community-led regeneration and has played a major role in securing and developing the town as a vibrant economic and service centre.

This year saw the unveiling of the landmark Faithlie Centre on Saltoun Square following significant investment and redevelopment. Work on the project began in May 2017 to provide space for a range of council services and facilities for community and civic functions including the Fraserburgh Enterprise Hub whose officers provide free advice and support to businesses and entrepreneurs and a free-to-use workspace offering a range of support to businesses and entrepreneurs.

The restoration was a key project in the development of the Fraserburgh 2021 Regeneration Scheme and has been led by Aberdeenshire Council in partnership with the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Historic Environment Scotland, the Scottish Government Regeneration Capital Grant Fund, among others.

Another of the priorities has been the conversion of the long-time derelict and fire-damaged former John Trail bookshop into an 11-bedroom boutique hotel.

Works are progressing on a complete renovation of the building including roof and masonry repairs, replacement sash and case windows, reinstated dormer windows, replacement rainwater goods, a new extension to the rear and re-modelled interior spaces.

It is the first phase of the hotel project being led by the North East Scotland Preservation Trust and supported by Aberdeenshire Council which will also see the conversion of the neighbouring former Clydesdale Bank building into a restaurant and bar facility and additional rooms.

Just up the road, the Kirk Brae Public Realm Improvement Scheme will commence soon with works on road and paving surfaces, seating and planters ongoing. The scheme will also involve repairs to the iconic Saltoun Mausoleum & Temperance Fountain.

Focus on the town’s rich history continues with the creation of ‘Glover Birthplace’ - a permanent memorial to Thomas Blake Glover in the form of a Japanese-themed courtyard garden within the Conservation Area at 15 Commerce Street, the project being made possible with the help and generosity of the landowner.

Part of Fraserburgh 2021’s Community Engagement Programme and part-resourced by Town Centre Funds, works on the community garden will begin in the Spring of next year. In addition, funds have been secured for the ‘cherry on the cake’ – a commemorative artwork which will act as a centrepiece to the garden and offer a focus for visitor photographs and selfies.

A number of architecturally important Fraserburgh properties are also undergoing refurbishment with support from CARS and from the business and property owners.

Fraserburgh Town Centre Conservation Area’s only A-listed building Anderson House, on the corner of Frithside street, which was designed by the prominent Aberdonian architect Archibald Simpson, will undergo complete external repair. Work begins next month on the ironmongery and joinery works, while roofing and masonry will commence in the Spring.

It is one of a several properties on Frithside Street, Broad Street, Commerce Street and High Street which are to benefit from varying degrees if external repairs including roof and window replacement and masonry repairs.

Aberdeenshire Council’s Small Grant Fund is also supporting a number of transformational projects including traditional shopfront restorations on High Street and considerable works at the much-loved Penny Schoolie which is receiving replacement windows, masonry and roofing repairs.

Banff and Buchan Area Committee chair Cllr Doreen Mair said: “This has been a hugely-difficult year for everyone in Fraserburgh – as it has been for those across the UK and beyond. We are delighted that we are once again seeing our regeneration activities gain momentum to bring more of our historic town-centre buildings back into use.

“The Faithlie Centre has already become a focal point for the community and we were all proud when it won the “Re-use of Buildings” category in this year’s Scottish Design Awards. We look forward to welcoming the community move into the building once COVID restrictions are relaxed.

“Regeneration of the former John Trail Bookshop and Clydesdale Bank will also provide us with much-needed hotel capacity and give a huge economic boost to the town centre once completed.

“We fully recognise that such transformational change takes time, but we are really starting to reap the benefits of these varied projects which will increase opportunities, grow the local economy and improve people's lives in the fullness of time.”

Chair of the Fraserburgh Regeneration Development Partnership, Cllr Brian Topping, added: “It is heartening to see so much progress being made on a wealth of tremendous projects right here in the heart of Fraserburgh. So much has been achieved over the last few years to improve facilities in the town, attract visitors and business and raise aspirations.

“The investment from Aberdeenshire Council and our generous funding partners has been vital in securing the long-term vitality of our town and I sincerely hope this is just the start of even more great things to come for the Broch in the fullness of time.”

Elsewhere in Fraserburgh, the private sector is showcasing the critical role it has to play in reinforcing the public sector’s combined efforts in the town. There have been several new retail premises opened recently which is indicative of the positive vibe that Fraserburgh now has and testament to the hard working, resourceful and resilient community that is ‘the Broch’.

Construction of a new marine co-ordination centre at Fraserburgh harbour which will service the Moray East offshore windfarm continues apace. The multi-million pound investment in the town also features a control room, workshops, offices and berthing space for vessels supporting the 100-turbine development throughout its scheduled 25-year lifespan.

Work is also due to commence on the much-anticipated Cross Street property development on the site of the former Barbours Garage where Grampian Housing Association will be creating 26 two-bed and nine one-bed residential flats.

Area Manager Angela Keith said: “I am very impressed by the ongoing regeneration and rejuvenation of many of our historic assets – not to mention the significant commercial developments being undertaken across Fraserburgh. These projects will deliver many social and economic benefits to the town in the fullness of time and that is great news for us all.

“Of course, we all want the benefits delivered immediately, but we have to remember that these developments do take time and we have to accept there will be some disruption along the way. However, I know that our residents and businesses remain upbeat and are looking forward to the completion of all these tremendous projects.”