Peterhead Projects Ltd going into administration has been a blow to the regeneration of the town, according to Aberdeenshire Council’s planning chief.
Stephen Archer will tell Buchan councillors on Tuesday that the collapse of the body has stalled proposed work on the Rose Street garden and the wider Greening Peterhead project which would have played an important role in linking parts of the town up and engaging significant numbers of volunteers.
Another disappointment has been on the dilivery of plans for improvements to Drummers Corner. Detailed plans were commissioned from an external company, although the output from this work has been ‘disappointing and slow’.
A report to go before today’s meeting entitled ‘Developing Excellence in our North Coast Communities, will be on the agenda at Tuesday’s meeting in Buchan House.
The strategy concentrates regeneration effort in the four northern towns of Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Banff and Macduff.
Mr Archer will tell councillors that much of the present work is behind the scenes and largely invisible to the public eye which can make communicating progress against the plan a challenge.
“This is particularly true in Peterhead where fuller regeneration has only just begun,” he says.
“Articulating and disseminating how the community can engage and organise to participate is an important part of the next stages and plans are being put in place to do this.”
Mr Archer says the major developments in the past six months have included the opening of the skills and employability hub; Compass Point, a partnership project aiming to support individuals into employability and support low income households.
The town centre community hub project; Encounter, has continued to provide space and coordination of town centre events such as Scottish Opera’s Pop Up Opera in the town centre in June.
Theatre Modo, which co-ordinates Encoutner, is also establishing partnerships with national bodies and theatres to help take forward and build capacity for more cultural performances and a permanent business model for Peterhead.
Mr Archer continues: “Identifying physical premises and pinning down a workable business model for permanent development are some way off, although laying the right community and partnership foundations is as critical as developing premises.
“A Youth Cafe has also been a component of Encounter which has attracted regularly significant numbers of young people.
“It has had a role in the reduction of youth disorder and anti-social behaviour incidents (reduced by nearly 15%, bucking a regional increase of over 10%).”
Mr Archer says the town centre theme within the plan has also been maturing, with the continued development of Rediscover Peterhead Business Improvement District (BID), the continuation of work to reduce gull nuisance, the continued promotion of the heritage trail and promotional work with cruise ships visiting Peterhead.
“Work is ongoing to identify gaps in service provision within the town and provide detailed analysis of footfall, utilisation and vacancy in discreet areas of the town centre.
“This will inform future intervention around the town centre and help to assess the impact of certain events on town centre footfall,” he says.
Mr Archer adds that the wider economy of the Peterhead area remains relatively buoyant with only small pockets of serviced employment land available for development and cautious optimism around the energy markets.
Members will discuss the report when they meet on Tuesday.