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£1 million for projects to revamp town centre

By Kyle Ritchie

Banff is set to benefit from nearly £1,000,000 of Scottish Government funding.

In December 2018 the Scottish Government announced a £50 million pot of money towards town centre projects throughout Scotland, supporting projects which drive economic activity and support local economic improvements.

Aberdeenshire Council were awarded £3.28 million of this fund to be shared among projects which met the funds criteria – sustainability of the project, deliverability of the project, and transformation to a key town centre.

A project to help improve Banff's Bridge Street is one that will benefit from funding.
A project to help improve Banff's Bridge Street is one that will benefit from funding.

Regeneration project officer for Banff and Macduff Naomi Mason said: "The fund has to be legally committed by March 2020, so given the time constraint, consultation with councillors, business associations, community groups and services within Aberdeenshire Council identified several projects ready to be delivered.

"Of these two in Banff were put forward, and in May an announcement was made that both had been successfully awarded funding.

"Banff therefore has been successful in securing almost £1,000,000 of the total Aberdeenshire fund for two projects."

The public realm work on Bridge Street, has been under development for several years.

A design statement was produced in 2018 and shows a proposed layout which takes into account technical considerations such as proposed style and position of new street lighting columns; car parking provision on Bridge Street as well as improved facilities within the existing Bridge Street car park; suggested street surfacing materials; and proposed drainage scheme.

The Design Statement has been placed within the Town House, Low Street for viewing or on the Aberdeenshire Council website.

Ms Mason added: "Over the next few months Aberdeenshire Council will submit a planning application and engage a consultant to look at a detailed design for the scheme which will address some of the comments that were received through the public consultation exercise in December 2018 and January 2019.

"There will be a further opportunity for formal comment through the planning process. With work looking to begin on the street in February 2020.

"As Bridge Street is the former main route into the town centre, and a street much beloved by the community, it is fantastic to see work taking place which will transform it into a safer, more accessible street.

"Works which look to address the drainage, lighting and usability of the street will certainly be transformational.

GrowBanff @ the Vinery has been awarded more than £200,000 towards the initial phase of renovating and reusing the Vinery building, and its attached Bothy.

The funding will be used to develop detailed plans for the site, along with the necessary permissions being sought.

It will also include emergency work to ensure the Bothy structure is safe and secure – and enable a new roof to be fitted.

Ms Mason added: "Furthermore this funding will develop upon the community consultation which was undertaken in the latter part of 2018.

"This sought to understand how the community saw the space, and its potential uses in the future, which included providing opportunities for the community to learn about and practice horticulture, together with ancillary skills such as making and selling produce from items grown and cooking skills.

"The establishment of a steering group from locally interested parties, will help to shape how an operator who can deliver these activities is found, and selected.

"We do not yet know how this will look, but we do know we will be back out to speak to the community once again to ensure the best operator is selected for the building so it can meet the community’s aims."

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