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Peterhead Councillors Cite New Report as Boost for Buchan Rail Campaign

>> Sunday, 17 August 2014

A new survey carried out for Aberdeenshire Council has been welcomed by Peterhead councillors as further evidence of the case for a Buchan rail link.

The Business Land Research Survey carried out by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce Research Unit on behalf of the council sought to assess demand for expansion options and identify infrastructure-related issues which act as attractors or inhibitors to growth. In a covering report, Aberdeenshire Council concludes that the impact of the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route “won’t improve the attractiveness of Fraserburgh and Peterhead as business locations”. The report goes on to state that, “a further risk is that the AWPR acts as a development ‘magnet’ to the detriment of locations beyond it”.

Now, Peterhead councillors Stephen Smith (SNP-Peterhead South & Cruden) and Alan Gardiner (Ind-Peterhead North & Rattray), who sit on Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, have said that the report adds considerable weight to the campaign to link Buchan to the rail network once again.

Commenting, Cllr Stephen Smith said:

“This report provides some very useful insights into business thinking and is an early warning that Peterhead cannot rely on the Aberdeen Bypass to make it more attractive as a location for new businesses. Only by thinking strategically for the long-term will that happen, and I am more and more coming to the view that a rail link will be a vital component of how the town develops in the next 20-30 years.

“It is important now that this report is used as part of the feasibility study being carried out by NESTRANS into the Buchan rail link to help inform the outcome of that.”

Cllr Alan Gardiner said:

“Let’s be clear that the AWPR will be a tremendous boost for Peterhead, both in terms of the journeys people make and the transporting of goods into and out of Peterhead by existing businesses. But this report is clear that the bypass in itself will not attract new business to the town and we therefore need to take every opportunity we can to make Peterhead more attractive and better-connected.

“The Borders railway is due to be completed next summer and I expect we will see in the Borders what we have come to expect from every other re-opening of a railway track or station in the last 30 years – an economic boost to the area and a well-used, modern facility. This report is therefore a welcome contribution to the feasibility study on the Buchan rail link.”

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