15 May 2023

£1.4 million of new investment to help improve places across Aberdeenshire announced

Nine local projects aimed at improving communities are to share more than £1.38 million in new funding to help improve local facilities and services and to create more vibrant places across Aberdeenshire.

This funding is coming from the third-year allocation of the Scottish Government Place Based Investment Programme (PBIP) which is designed to support coherent investment decisions that respond to local community priorities for their places.

Central to the delivery of the Programme is ensuring that investment decisions are shaped by the evidenced needs of local communities, regenerate and revitalise towns and villages, help tackle inequality and disadvantage and accelerate Scotland towards ‘net zero’ emissions goals.  Projects are also expected to offer sustainable and impactful benefits to the places in which they are delivered.

Investment in previous years has seen important projects completed or underway across the area including the redevelopment of an old department store in Huntly into a multi-purpose community and enterprise space, a new skate and wheeled sports park in Fraserburgh, improvements to facilities at the Alford Valley Community Railway, the restoration and stabilisation of the Macduff Cross and improvements to public spaces in towns such as Aboyne, Ballater, Banff, Ellon and Fraserburgh.

The successful Aberdeenshire projects for 2023/24 include substantial accessibility improvements to The Haughs in Turriff and Denman Park in Westhill, the first phases of bringing both the Strichen and Kintore Town Houses back into community use, structural upgrades to the Gordon Rural Action premises in Huntly and a new cycle pump track at Victoria Park in Peterhead.

Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Councillor John Crawley, said: “For a third year running, we are seeing how creative and innovative communities across Aberdeenshire can be in shaping the future of their places.  It is wonderful to see that investment from the Place Based Investment Programme will be put to good use once again this year to help create more inviting, accessible and resilient places across the region.”

Vice-chair Councillor Isobel Davidson added: “We know how much people value the places in which they live, so to see projects coming forward that will mean that they can enjoy them even more is heartening.  People make places tick, so this funding will help to make exciting improvements and additions to communities for years to come.”

Details of the nine successful projects are as follows:


Clerkhill Public Realm scheme, Peterhead

Aberdeenshire Council - £87,500 

Public realm scheme at Clerkhill retail area – the largest retail space in Peterhead outwith the town centre.  The retail area was developed in the 1970s and the public realm areas that serve the retail facilities are in poor condition and by modern standards inaccessible.  The (c.10) business units in the area are disadvantaged by losing customers who shop elsewhere but who otherwise might choose to shop more locally and within their 20-minute neighbourhood.  The project will upgrade 1,100m2 of public space including new surfaces, lighting and landscaping. 


Fraserburgh Hotel Project (34 Broad Street), Fraserburgh 

North East Scotland Preservation Trust - £165,000

Latest phase of the conversion of the former Clydesdale Bank (34 Broad Street) into an extension to the hotel building now completed in the neighbouring John Trail building.  This phase will consist of the completion of a new courtyard restaurant.


Gordon Rural Action – 55 Gordon Street, Huntly

Gordon Rural Action - £250,000 

The project involves a comprehensive refurbishment and upgrade to the GRA Advice & Support Hub and Charity Shop in Huntly to create energy-efficient, high quality spaces to run their services, support their clients and reduce high running costs which currently limit their other activities.  The project will see new low-energy lighting and heating, replacement of 1960s windows, rectifying damp issues, new insulation and rebuild of a storeroom.  Project aims to increase the number of clients that they are able to support by 30% and the number of volunteer and work experience opportunities by 25%.


The Haughs Improved Access Project, Turriff

Aberdeenshire Council - £72,274

Stage 1 of a long-term regeneration masterplan for the Haughs, designed to improve year-round access and connectivity across, to and from this key open space in Turriff.  Considerable work has been undertaken to identify key improvement areas and engage with the community.  This stage will address some of the underlying structural weaknesses of the area including enhanced lighting, accessibility improvements to the A947 underpass and shared path improvements.


Kintore Town House Refurbishment Project

Action Kintore SCIO - £250,000

Kintore Town House commands a central position in the town but has been closed and unused for several years.  The object of this project is to return the building to a usable community facility to serve the growing population of the area.  The project will be delivered in two phases. Phase 1 – and the subject of this application – will be to address structural and access requirements and adding back essential services such as toilets and a commercial kitchen as well as creating or reinstating flexible community spaces. The building would be usable at the end of phase 1.  Phase 2 would consist of a new linked café extension to add capacity and income options.


Portsoy Green Travel & Fitness Hub

Portsoy & District Community Council - £36,566 

The project involves a series of small but proportionate physical interventions to promote healthy lifestyles, enjoyment of the outdoors and greener travel in Portsoy.  Part of the project will involve the installation of a green gym, cycle repair station and water station at Loch of Soy Park near the village centre with other small improvements to foot and cycle paths connecting the park to the harbour area.


Strichen Town House Project

Strichen Town House Trust SCIO - £49,990 

The project is the first phase of the refurbishment and upgrade of the Grade A listed Town House in Strichen, to reinstate this important community focal building as a hub to co-ordinate and lead community life in the village.  The long-term vision for the building is for it to accommodate mixed and flexible community uses, accessible spaces and public services such as new toilets and a relocated library. Phase 1 work will safeguard the structure to avoid any further deterioration and will involve external upgrades to the roof, wall pointing, window upgrades, insulation and the demolition of the redundant public toilet block.


Victoria Park Cycle Track, Peterhead

Peterhead Area Community Trust - £232,199

Phase 2 of an ambitious plan to redevelop the derelict Victoria Park in Peterhead to create a multi-dimensional community garden and leisure facility close to the town centre. Phase 2 involves the construction of a cycle pump track which will attract more and different users to the park and help to tackle well-being, health, activity and deprivation priorities in Peterhead.  The proposed development consists of 2 tracks – one for beginners/learners, c.45m in length and a more adventurous track c. 220m.  They will share a rest area.


Improving Access to Westhill’s Green Public Spaces

Westhill & Elrick Community Council - £239,967

The project seeks to transform access to, and within, Denman Park and Arnhall Moss Nature Reserve in central Westhill.  Both areas are well used by the community but have suffered from neglect and lack of maintenance.  The project aims to better connect these green spaces to the surrounding residential areas and the town centre/retail area through additional and improved accessible routes, footbridges and rest areas with benches and picnic tables to address a disfunction in circulation.  Included in the project is the purchase of two Trishaws to be piloted by local volunteers to provide rides to those with mobility difficulties so that they can also benefit from the improved facilities.