>> 11 July 2016
A major regeneration project in Fraserburgh has secured the last of the funding it needs to progress and deliver visible improvements for the local community.
Aberdeenshire Council has been successful in its second round funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the £5.7 million Fraserburgh 2021 project.
The Heritage Lottery Fund (Townscape Heritage) has awarded around £1.8 million, meaning all necessary partner funding is in place to start work.
The rest of the money comes from Aberdeenshire Council (£1.4 million), Historic Environment Scotland (£1.2 million) and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (£0.6 million), together with expected private owner contributions (£0.7 million).
The project’s principal aim is to support the regeneration of the town’s built heritage.
Priority projects include improving historic properties in Saltoun Square such as the Town House and Police Station, which are both in need of repair.
Grants will be made available to help private property owners carry out repairs to properties within the town centre Conservation Area.
Local heritage projects will also be carried out with local groups including Fraserburgh schools.
In the course of applying for the latest lottery funding, work was carried out to further develop plans and costings for building projects.
As many owners and businesses as possible in the main regeneration area were contacted about the scheme and public sessions were held to help inform the community about the proposals.
Applications for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent for improvement works to the Town House and Police Station have now been submitted.
Designed in 1853 by architect Thomas Mackenzie, the Town House is category B-listed. The police station was added in 1906, designed to match its neighbour, but is currently unused.
The inventive reconfiguration of these two historic civic buildings has been developed by Moxon Architects and Conservation Architect Alan Marshall.
The Town House at 1-3 Saltoun Chambers – which houses the council chambers – will be sensitively restored and combined with the adjacent former police station.
Non-original features at the rear will be demolished to make way for an extension, which will accommodate meeting rooms for council and public use.
The layouts of both buildings will be modified to suit the new combined premises, with principle routes between the entrances, council chamber and council services passing through the new extension, with greater accessibility for all.
The project is intended to create a significant public asset in a key location in the town centre at the junction of Saltoun Square and Kirk Brae, while also enhancing the North Braeheads area to the rear of the building, which will be landscaped.
Commenting, Fraserburgh SNP councillor Brian Topping said:
“It will retain our local heritage which is very important and will enhance our town centre appearance and hopefully encourage other property owners to tidy up the appearance of their property.
“This is a very positive step for the community and I am grateful to the council staff who have worked so hard to secure this funding for the Broch, which I am very proud to represent.”
“I’m overjoyed that at last all the pieces of the jigsaw are now in place so work can start.
“It's great that this huge amount of money is coming into the town from outside sources, and we will be working to ensure it makes a difference to Fraserburgh.”
Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), Cllr David Aitchison, said:
“This is a significant and very visible project which is an integral part of regeneration plans for the town and I hope local property owners will continue to work with us to bring up the quality of the town centre generally, which should have a positive impact on the Conservation Area and the wider community.”
ISC vice-chair, Cllr Stephen Smith, said:
“A significant sum of money has now been secured, and of course Aberdeenshire Council is contributing to that, demonstrating the faith being placed in the aims of this regeneration project, which seeks to improve the town for the benefit of the wider area and communities.”
“Thanks to National Lottery players the final piece in the jigsaw of this ambitious partnership has slotted into place,” said Lucy Casot, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in Scotland.
“The restoration of a number of key historic buildings in the town centre will boost the local economy helping secure a brighter future for Fraserburgh. Once finished, the scheme will reinvigorate an even greater sense of pride into local people who call this famous fishing town home.”
Work on Fraserburgh 2021 starts on the ground in August and will run until 2021. Look out for more updates on the Fraserburgh 2021 Facebook page.