Members of the Buchan Area Committee of Aberdeenshire Council last week considered plans for a new ‘one-stop shop’ which would integrate council services in Peterhead.
Councillors were given a policy report update on the proposed new headquarters which have been earmarked for St Peter Street.
At present, there are 14 offices across Peterhead which offer administrative support and services including education, social work and housing. It is suggested that these services will be brought together into one space on the preferred St Peter Street site. The committee heard that the bringing together of services would generate savings of £644,000 over a 20-year period.
Commenting, Councillor Anne Allan said the new building should include facilities such as video conferencing and appropriately-designed spaces for education and social work. She also raised the issue of whether there would be enough room in the new building should if the number of council employees were to be increased.
Councillor Tom Malone raised concerns about confidentiality in the new headquarters for service-users. He said: “In some of the existing buildings there are certainly issues relating to accoustics and customers being able to discuss their business in private which I hope would be dealt with.”
Councillor Alan Gardiner welcomed the propsosed development, commenting: “I think it is right to pull services together but we need to justify to the public that this is the best site.”
Both Cllrs Gardiner and Malone raised concerns about the buildings which would be vacated by the move, emphasising the need for adequate marketing of the old council buildings.
Mr Malone raised the possibility of the Buchan Area Committee having a say over who would fill the vacated properties.
Councillor Stephen Smith also supported the principle of a new building, saying: “It is right to support decent services for the public and staff, especially if six-figure savings can be made.”