>> 13 October 2008

Local councillors Bob Watson and Brian Topping have told the Fraserburgh Herald that they very much welcomed the outcome of last week's meeting of the Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC) when the planning application for a hotel, DIY store and garden centre project was brought back before the committee. The controversial application was deferred at the last meeting of the ISC to allow the applicants to submit a sequential test of possible alternative sites, and a retail impact assessment on the possible knock-on effect on the town centre.

Once again the proposal was recommended for refusal by the planning officers, and Lib Dem Councillors Martin Ford and Debra Storr urged the committee to follow the officers' advice and reject the application for fear of damaged to the fragile retail economy of the town centre. But SNP councillors Stuart Pratt, Fiona McRae, Rob Merson and Independent John Cox, outlined the case to support the application, which they said was in the best interests of the town, and cross-party support was quickly rallied. The application has now been referred to the Scottish Government for final approval.

Councillor for Troup Ward, Bob Watson commented on the decision:

"The local Press has been rife with the speculation that this application was bound for refusal by the ISC, and we have had Councillors Tait and Watt attempting to create the false impression that they hold the monopoly on caring for the future of the town. We all voted in favour of this application when it came before the Banff & Buchan Area Committee, and I am delighted that the ISC has ultimately supported that recommendation.

"The people of Fraserburgh plainly have to make a choice whether they want to follow the Prophets of Doom – or the profits of boom. They should be absolutely assured of our determination to promote the regeneration of Fraserburgh in the most effective way possible."

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