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Eyesore shipyard to be flattened

By Alan Beresford

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FROM shipbuilding icon to eyesore, Jones' Shipyard in Buckie has left many a memory in its wake over the years, but for much of the site, the end was nigh as the bulldozers moved in.

Growing increasingly derelict over the quarter of a century since it closed for the last time, Moray Council acted at the start of last week on the dangerous building order served on the site's owner late last year.

Buckie's three councillors, Tim Eagle, Gordon Cowie and Sonya Warren reflected on the passing of an era for the former yard.

Councillor Eagle said “Whilst the current building is not the memory some will have of its heyday when many boats were built from the site it remains an iconic building in Buckie which stretches back to its purchase in 1918.

"The site is visible from many areas in Buckie and is a reminder of the deep history and association with the sea that Buckie has.

"Sadly the building has fallen into a dangerous state and following several reports of pieces falling from it last year Moray council had to act to protect the public and served a dangerous buildings notice. Following talks between the council and owners it has been agreed that the building needed to be demolished.

"As this building now disappears from our view it is some comfort that we have seen significant upgrades at the Macduff shipyard site over the last few years as well as increasing activity in the harbour generally and many ideas for the future.”

Councillor Cowie welcomed the chance to move forward from the site being one which attracted headlines for the wrong reasons.

"This has been an eyesore for far to long and it's good to see these buildings being demolished," he continued.

"As this is a private site I hope the council pursues them for any expenditure incurred.

"This site has been a bone of contention for the residents with fires and damage being done on a regular basis causing grief to them, so the more that can be done the better to tidy this part of the town up."

Councillor Warren noted that the old yard held a great deal of meaning for the generations who once plied their trade there, making the demolition something of a bitter-sweet moment.

She commented: "I must admit there were some mixed feelings watching the work start at Jones's.

"It's sad to see such an important part of our harbour and our heritage coming down, so many local men learned their trade there when it was thriving.

However, there's a also a great deal of relief to see this site tidied up at last after years of being an eyesore.

"I'm looking forward to seeing the future plans for the site and progress being made."

The history of the site goes back to 1908 when James Jones purchased a saw mill and later the land and sheds from McIntosh and Sons to what was become a thriving and highly-regarded shipyard. It was to close in 1995.

Since closing, alternative plans for the site have been tabled, including a controversial plan to build housing –vigorously opposed by local residents at the time – and more recently, an attempt to build first lubricating oil blending plant in Scotland.

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