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Braemar Castle Congratulated by Cabinet Secretary & Westminster Candidate

>> 3 June 2017

Braemar villagers have been hailed as local heroes by leading politicians as examples of how community empowerment works as they celebrate ten successful years of community management of Braemar Castle.

Braemar Community Limited have seen visitor numbers to the 17th century castle soar by over 277% since they took on a 50-year lease on from Invercauld Estate in 2007.

Raising over £500,000 to renovate the building in the past ten years and – as well as repairing the roof – they now have 12 fully-furnished rooms.

And this weekend the community celebrates a decade of delivery for the iconic tourist attraction with a dinner and Hog roast Ceilidh.

Scottish Government’s Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing MSP visited the castle on the eve of the party, with local councillor Geva Blackett and West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine SNP candidate Stuart Donaldson.

Mr Ewing said:

“This fantastic community initiative plays such a huge role in the economy of one of Scotland’s most rural communities and draws visitors from around the world. I am delighted to have been able to pay a short visit and will certainly be back with my wife and daughter in the summer to have a proper tour.”

Stuart Donaldson said:

“It’s always a great pleasure to visit Braemar as there is so much going on.

“It’s a truly vibrant community and the work they have done in restoring and improving the castle typifies that.

“Braemar is a small but historic village and there has been terrific buy-in from a huge section of the community to bring visitors back to the castle.

“They are true local heroes who can be immensely proud of the work they have done to restore, improve and promote Braemar Castle.

“I’m delighted they have brought the community together to celebrate the first ten years of community management and I wish them well for the next ten years.”

Councillor Geva Blackett, whose husband Simon is chair of Braemar Community Ltd the community company who run the castle and other projects, is thrilled at the progress they have made since 2007.

Geva said,

“Braemar Castle plays an important role in the life of the village and Stuart Donaldson is very aware of this. But I also wanted the Cabinet Secretary to see for himself how hard everyone here works to ensure Braemar is a sustainable community working together for an exciting future.”

The Earl of Mar initially used the castle as his Highland hunting lodge but after it was partially burnt down in 1689 after becoming the first casualty of the first Jacobite uprising.
The castle has changed several times over the years with a long-list of high profile owners – including a Russian princess and an MP.

Under the community management, visitor numbers have jumped from 4,500 to 12,500 last year - a staggering 277% rise.

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SNP Win Vote in Fraserburgh & District Ward

>> 9 May 2017

The SNP in Fraserburgh was celebrating after coming first in Fraserburgh & District at last week’s local elections in terms of total votes with both of the party’s sitting councillors being returned.

Against an increased vote for the Tories across Aberdeenshire, the SNP saw off the challenge locally and topped the polls once again with 1,522 first preference votes.

Commenting, Banff & Buchan Westminster SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford said:


“I’m delighted that Charles Buchan and Brian Topping have been re-elected to serve the people of the Fraserburgh & District ward and congratulate them on their vote. Our third candidate, David Donn, ran an excellent campaign on local issues which was well received and I congratulate him on a well-fought election, as I do the other candidates.”

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SNP Win Back Banff Seat from Tories

>> 8 May 2017

By-Election Loss Reversed as Reynolds Elected at Stage 1

SNP activists and supporters were celebrating winning back the Banff & District seat from the Conservatives on Friday. After the votes were counted at the Aberdeen Exhibition Centre, Glen Reynolds was elected at stage one of the count, reversing the result of the by-election held last November.

Commenting on his election, Councillor Glen Reynolds said:

"I am delighted to be given this opportunity to serve all the people of Banff & District ward, and not just those who voted or supported me. Taxpayers and their families should expect to see a great deal of hard work from me, and that work starts now.

“I follow in the footsteps of the late Cllr Ian Gray, who was devoted to the residents of the ward and my election is a great opportunity to do him, and those same residents, proud. I look forward to working with councillor colleagues and especially the people of the area, to ensure that local services are protected in difficult and uncertain times ahead."

Banff & Buchan SNP candidate Eilidh Whiteford added:

“I’m very pleased for Glen who put a huge effort into winning back this seat from the Tories and has been rewarded for that effort by the voters. Glen will be an excellent councillor for Banff & District.”

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Parking Issues at New Sports Centre: Glen Reynolds Welcomes 'Urgent Consideration'

>> 28 April 2017

SNP candidate for Banff & District Glen Reynolds has welcomed a commitment from Aberdeenshire Council that parking issues around the new Deveron Sports & Community Centre will be given “urgent consideration” by the council.

Residents in Bellevue Road raised concerns over parking congestion in the area with Mr Reynolds who took the matter up with local MSP Stewart Stevenson. Now, the local MSP has received a response from the council’s Area Manager stating:

“The Chief Executive has asked me to give this matter urgent consideration and a suite of measures will be developed not only to encourage responsible car parking but also car usage.”

Commenting, Glen Reynolds said:

"Wonderful resources like the new sports facility in Banff, can result in nearby residents becoming victims of the success and popularity of such a popular venue.

“Following concerns raised by local residents and in collaboration with the MSP, I am very pleased that Aberdeenshire Council is taking the view such parking issues require urgent attention. I envisage some measures being taken to ensure that parking in designated areas is prioritised, but I think that there are other measures we all have to consider these days, such as car sharing where possible. It is not an easy problem to solve."

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