Proposed Buckie town centre plans to go before public
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
BUCKIE residents are about to be asked their views on a series of proposed improvements to the town centre.
Moray Council has prepared a long list of projects it wants to carry out in Buckie, as well as five other towns in the region.
An eight-week consultation process, which if approved will begin today (Tuesday), will ask people to give their opinions.
The council is proposing to remove car parking from the area of Cluny Square near North Church Hall and "transform it into a space where people want to spend time".
It adds: "This project aims to attract people to the town centre and increase the footfall for local businesses."
The redesign would include putting in paving, planting shrubs and extending the existing seating area which overlooks the sea.
Picnic benches and a drinking fountain would also be introduced.
The proposals for Buckie also include planting around the rest of the car parking area to create a "more attractive and welcoming image of the square.
Added to that, lighting would be installed at the war memorial.
Improving the digital infrastructure in the centre of town is also listed as a priority, the report stating: "Opportunities for the provision of public wi-fi within the town centre will be investigated.
"This would increase digital connectivity and provide easy internet access to residents and visitors. The access to public wi-fi could be connected to virtual notice boards in order to help leading people through the town centre and promoting key areas."
Alongside this plans are laid out for creating EV charging points in Cluny Square.
Sprucing up the shopfronts in the middle of the town is on the cards.
The report says: "This will be achieved through improving signage in line with the design guide by making repairs and renovating shopfronts."
In addition, the report proposes converting the old lemonade factory into affordable housing.
It says: "Its close proximity to the town centre, shops and bus route would make it an ideal residential property."
Encouraging local people to have their say through the consultation were Buckie councillors Sonya Warren, Gordon Cowie and Tim Eagle.
Councillor Warren said: "It'll be very interesting to see what people in the community have to say about these plans as well as what they'd like to see done and what their ideas are.
"I certainly encourage as many people as possible to take this chance to have their say and not miss out.
"Funding of £200,000 in 2021/22 and 2022/23 has already been set aside as part of the Economic Recovery Plan to be available towards projects to improve and adapt town centres in Moray, which is very welcome."
Councillor Cowie commented: "I would encourage as many of the town's residents to have an input into what they would like to see happening at this stage.
"There's no point in waiting for things to be passed in the process that they don't want."
Councillor Eagle hailed the proposals as a "great step in the right direction".
He continued: "It is great to see the planning department giving consideration to the rejuvenation of areas of Buckie from the potential for new residential properties to lighting and town centre improvements.
"I have had many meetings over the last four years to push for these types of developments and more as we try to improve connectivity across the town. I hope everyone in Buckie will engage with the work and feel free to submit other ideas for how we can improve our town.
"This is a great step in the right direction."
Also in the proposals, the site of the former gasworks on Baron Street, which has been vacant for a while due to contamination issues, could be transformed into a site for residential properties.
Making improvements to the start/finish of the Speyside Way with improved signage and seating plus the possibility of creating a community garden are suggested in the document.
On the subject of the Tesco roundabout, it says: "Visitors entering Buckie this way are greeted by a roundabout, which is currently unwelcoming and has little impact apart from Buckie`s Darling, a new sculpture inspired by the town's heritage.
"There are opportunities to further enhance the roundabout and light up the sculpture to create an attractive, welcoming entrance into Buckie."
Improvements to the roundabout at Barhill Road to create a "positive feel and welcoming first impression when entering Buckie and travelling towards the town centre" are proposed.
The full range of proposals can be found at www.moray.gov.uk, clicking on the Council and Governance then Meetings tabs to get to the Planning and Regulatory services Committee meeting information. On the meeting agenda, go to issue number nine on the planning committee's agenda, as well as the individual appendixes.