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Funding for coastal communities fund approved by committee


By Kyle Ritchie

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Councillors in Banff and Buchan have backed additional funding allocations from its coastal communities fund.

The local authority's area committee has £25,000 to spend during the next financial year.

During an online meeting on Tuesday councillors were recommended to approve a £10,000 funding allocation to enable the Coastal Aberdeenshire project officer to work with communities to expand on ideas and proposals and allocate the remaining £15,000 to support the delivery of projects.

In a report that went before councillors area manager Angela Keith said: "It is proposed that a proportion of the £25,000 allocated to the Banff and Buchan area committee is used to further enable the Coastal Aberdeenshire project officer to work with Banff and Buchan communities to expand their ideas and project proposals.

"The allocation of the funds will be more clearly defined once the job description for the post is approved and fixed term contract finalised.

"At this point £10,000 is the estimated contribution required to ensure the post is full-time for a period of up to 23 months.

"The remaining funds will be allocated to projects grants once more details are scoped out and verified. Grant application forms will capture viability against the criteria assessed."

Councillors have approved funding for the Banff and Buchan Coastal Communities Fund.
Councillors have approved funding for the Banff and Buchan Coastal Communities Fund.

The area manager outlined during the meeting that the project officer role was approved by councillors during the last area committee.

She said: "This will enable us to work with communities to consider potential projects.

"The remainder of the fund would be allocated to support the delivery of these projects and coastal communities will be invited to bid for the money.

"Once the detail of the areas of work are fully scoped out and definitive costs are known, this will be reported back to the area committee."

In January last year, the Scottish Government awarded the first tranche of funding from the Scottish Crown Estate (Marine) Coastal Communities Fund to local authorities. Aberdeenshire Council was awarded £328,314 for 2019/2020.

The council's infrastructure services committee (ISC) agreed funding allocations and investments in strategic projects and an allocation of £12,500 to each of the four area committees which have a coastline.

For last year's funding the Banff and Buchan area committee decided to allocate £2,498.50 to the Fraserburgh “Light the North” lighthouse trail and £10,000 to the Coastal Seaweed Industries Diversification Study.

At a meeting in May last year the ISC agreed that future funding from the Scottish Crown Estate for coastal communities activity could be aligned with economic development Covid-19 recovery initiatives such as the Phoenix Fund and the Business Resilience and Sustainability Scheme.

At the ISC's August meeting councillors approved a further £25,000 to be awarded to the four area committees which had coastal communities. Subsequently the Scottish Government confirmed that local authorities could extend the financial flexibility of this funding to the end of the financial year 2021-2022.

For the coming year medium to long-term projects that have been identified as part of the Coast Aberdeenshire – Phase 1 (North) Project include infrastructure improvements between Sandend and Cullen; Clan Baird Society's project to preserve St Drostan's Church at Aberdour and the provision of a visitor centre; and a project to improve the Portsoy to Cullen National Cycle Network route.

Other projects outlined are infrastructure work at Tarlair's former outdoor swimming pool; promotion of groups and organisations providing outdoor sports; and work at Fraserburgh harbour for safe vantage points to view the port and the Golden Horn Lighthouse conservation.

Councillors agreed the recommendations of the report which included the allocation of the £25,000 of funding for the coming year.


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