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£400k Property Fund Agreed for Banff & Buchan

>> 18 March 2016

Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Banff and Macduff will benefit from a new Property Investment Fund aimed at bringing derelict and vacant properties back into use.

The fund of £400,000 was agreed by Aberdeenshire Council’s Policy and Resources Committee, following discussions at Infrastructure Services Committee and the Regeneration Member Officer Working Group where the scale of dereliction in some streets in Macduff and Banff has been highlighted.

The fund is an important part of the council’s Regeneration Strategy, to breathe new life into towns and villages across Aberdeenshire. The aim is to bring prominent, town centre properties which have been empty for at least six months, back into use. Applications will be open to individuals, community groups or businesses who own and wish to invest in their property to bring new, sustainable uses to the towns of Banff, Macduff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead.

Grants of up to £10,000 will be awarded for feasibility studies, architectural drawings or quantity surveying work at phase 1, with further grants of up to £100,000 available in phase 2 for building/renovation work.

Councillors have agreed to run the scheme for two years as a trial to demonstrate what is achievable and what is required to entice private and community developers to invest in their town centres.

Co-Leader of Aberdeenshire Council Cllr Richard Thomson chaired the meeting of Policy & Resources Committee, and said:

“The towns of Banff, Peterhead, Macduff and Fraserburgh will all benefit from this Property Investment Fund, and we are expecting a positive response from developers and property owners in the towns.

“Investing in our town centres is a priority for Aberdeenshire Council, and to achieve the best results we need to stimulate the local economy by encouraging private developers to invest in their properties.

“We hope this fund will reinvigorate these towns and kick-start a wider commitment by developers to work alongside the council to take steps which will support the local economy.”

Local councillors have welcomed the announcement of the fund as good news for Peterhead.

Peterhead North & Rattray SNP councillor Anne Allan said:

“When the Partnership of SNP, Labour and Progressive councillors took over the Administration of Aberdeenshire Council a few months ago, we wanted to make regeneration of the four northern towns a greater priority.

“Some good foundations had been laid, but it was time to step things up a gear. This Property Investment Fund will be just one of those step-changes. I would encourage anyone who thinks they may qualify for support under this scheme to get in touch with the Regeneration & Town Centres Manager [details below] for more information.”

Peterhead South & Cruden SNP councillor Stuart Pratt added:

“This scheme can help provide funding to kick-start the regeneration of buildings in need of attention to bring them back into productive use. Most of these will be privately-owned so this will very much be a co-operative approach where the council can perhaps provide the impetus through this scheme to start things moving.”

Those who wish to apply should discuss their proposal with the Regeneration & Town Centres Manager, Christine Webster. Tel: 07785 730652 or email christine.webster@aberdeenshire.gov.uk.

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