>> 15 October 2014
A scheme to assist town centre businesses in Fraserburgh has attracted three times as many participants as expected.
Through the Retail Plus Scheme, set up under Aberdeenshire Council’s Fraserburgh Regeneration Action Plan, local retailers have accessed specialist expertise and advice to help them maintain their longer term sustainability.
After receiving one-to-one advice from The Retailer Group, each participating business was then encouraged to apply for grants of up to £5,000 to implement the advice.
The scheme closed for applications in May and since then participating businesses have been working with the advisors on identifying improvements and will be shortly receiving their grant offers.
Over £200,000 from both Aberdeenshire Council and businesses will now be invested in a number of projects aimed at improving town centre vitality.
“Thanks have to be given to the Council for their support in augmenting the project due to the untargetted demand. Along with the proposed funding which might be drawn in to Broch town centre properties from the Conservation Area Status, Retail Plus will be an important element in our town's regeneration.”
Regeneration officer for Fraserburgh, Debra Campbell, said:
“Improving the vitality of the town centre is one of the main themes of the Action Plan so we’re pleased to support this scheme and other initiatives like Super Saturday.”
In April 2014, more than £78,000 was initially approved by Aberdeenshire Council’s Policy and Resources Committee for the consultation service and grant scheme.
Funding was estimated on the participation of up to 12 businesses which was based on uptake of similar previous schemes in Fraserburgh.
The actual number of participant businesses far exceeded expectations and in September 2014, the committee approved a further £80,000 for additional grant provision.
The Retailer Group, Gordon Bell, said:
“This is a great opportunity both for retailers and for the high street as a whole. We are delighted to be associated with this project and have enjoyed working with businesses in Fraserburgh to make a real difference both for the shops and local customers.”
It is expected that most works will be completed by the beginning of December in time for the highly important Christmas season for retailers.