Business group holds AGM

Peterhead Business Forum hosted itsa annual general meeting in the town’s Palace Hotel last week.

The meeting was attended by dozens of businesspeople and was chaired by local businessman John Pascoe.

He opened the meeting by outlining some of the achievements of the group, including business studies, work relating to Peterhead Bay and facilitating Peterhead’s Farmers’ Market. It was also noted that the PBF had liaised with the police over issues such as pedestrianisation.

During the course of the meeting a new six-member PBF committee was elected to drive forward the group’s work, with Mr Pascoe continuing as chairman.

Two Aberdeenshire councillors were invited to speak at the AGM - Alan Gardiner and Tom Malone.

Cllr Gardiner raised concerns about the state of the town centre, adding that he stood for election as he felt there was not enough of a business voice on Aberdeenshire Council.

He insisted that he had “no political agenda” and defended his role in the Aberdeenshire Alliance which was formed following May’s local elections.

Following a council underspend of £20million, Mr Gardiner told the AGM that £3million would be allocated to improve towns and villages in the North-east.

Mr Gardiner reiterated his hope for Chapel Street and Marischal Street to be opened up to traffic and for new businesses to be attracted to come to Peterhead. He also expressed concerns about the number of “For Lease” signs posted along Marischal Street and that he is keen to promote the possibility of rates and rents incentives to boost occupancy.

On the issue of the uplifting cobbles on Chapel Street and Marischal Steet, Cllr Gardiner suggested that the cobbles had been deemed “roadworthy” so would not be lifted if the streets were to be opened up to traffic.

However, he suggested that “some level of parking on both streets” would be desirable and that the town centre would continue to operate under a one-way system.

Cllr Gardiner also expressed support for the idea of a taxi rank in the town, for Queen Street to be closed to traffic on weekend evenings and for new slabs to be laid on Queen Street.

Councillor Tom Malone also spoke at the meeting and emphasised that many of the problems facing the town centre were “fixable”.

He said he had approached council officers relating to a number of issues including cleaning of street furniture on Drummers Corner and new planting in Peterhead.

Cllr Malone also reiterated his commitment to tackling the problem of litter, including his hope to see new bins at the Lido. Commenting, Cllr Malone said: “It is amazing what can be done by applying some passion, determination and will.”

The first meeting of the new PBF committee is expected to be held in the next two weeks.