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'Room to thrive' strategy launch

Des Birnie, Huntly Room to Thrive, Huntly Room to Thrive Strategy, RBS
Des Birnie, Huntly Room to Thrive, Huntly Room to Thrive Strategy, RBS

SCORES of people thronged the former RBS last Saturday for the launch of the Huntly Room to Thrive strategy and to scope potential uses for the building.

The strategy identifies current, future and towards 2030 projects to address the strategy's five priorities - town centre, enterprise, learning and leisure, getting about, people and culture.

The town centre is top priority and visitors were told that the RBS project was a trial to establish the viability of taking over vacant buildings to refurbish and lease for new uses.

Deveron Projects asked visitors to decorate a Christmas tree with decorations onto which they had written ideas for what buildings might be used.

Des Birnie, of the consultants icecream architecture (ICA) gave a presentation on the strategy.

Neil Ferguson from (ICA) said: "The town centre is key and has to be improved and activated. Community ownership of some buildings which are too big for individuals could start the change.

"Huntly has set a significant challenge for how it would like to be in 2030, but with determination and using the shared purpose the strategy establishes it is possible.

"One thing that will be crucial is people starting up new enterprises and it was encouraging to see people thinking about what they could do for themselves and how this in turn will benefit the town. The key will be local people getting involved."

The £44,000 Room to Thrive project, funded by the European Leader project and managed by the South Aberdeenshire local action group (LAG) includes the appointment of a town centre activator until the end of 2020.

The LAG chairman Gena Ford attended Saturday's launch and said: "It is good to see people reacting so positively as we had hoped. Regeneration can only happen if people want it and there is a definite enthusiasm for change."

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