The future of a redundant Peterhead town centre site has moved a step forward today.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Business Services Committee agreed to refuse the sale of the Glenugie Business Centre on King Street.
The former Peterhead North School and a neighbouring later building housed the council’s social work department prior to its relocation in 2016 to the purpose-built Buchan House facility on St Peter Street.
The buildings – initially put on the market at around £450,000 – formed part of a wider portfolio of local authority properties put up for sale in the wake of the move to the new council headquarters.
An offer had been accepted in principle back in 2017 for the centre and an adjoining property, followed by protracted negotiations to attempt to conclude the sale.
It was during that time that the offer reduced substantially and today, the councillors agreed not to sell the site to this buyer and to reconsider its options.
A fresh report will go back to the Buchan Area Committee in future and will focus on options of demolition and site clearing, partial demolition and sale, or the use of the space for affordable housing and car-parking.
Meanwhile, the committee did agree to sell a development site at South Harbour Road in Fraserburgh.
The sale had been scrutinised by both the area and policy committee before this agreement was reached.
After assurances were sought on the purchaser’s readiness to begin the development - subject to planning approval - the members agreed to give permission to sell the site to George West Ltd.
It has lain vacant for a number of years and the plans under discussion would see it turned into a mixed-use business and retail site, bringing employment opportunities to the town, generating money for the economy.
The report to committee said that providing a wider range of facilities may encourage more people to visit the town and could prevent the loss of shoppers to other areas.
An alternative offer for the site was on the table but was earlier withdrawn by the bidder.
Chair of the Business Services Committee, Councillor Jim Gifford said: “Today we were able to show how important it is that we get value for every public pound in the way we manage our wider estate.
"Both of these reports demonstrate a willingness from officers and elected members to scrutinise every spend, and to be sure these are fair. It also shows that we are not afraid to overturn a decision which might not be in the interest of the public purse.
"I am confident that the Fraserburgh site will be developed to the benefit of the wider town. Meanwhile, I look forward to seeing the alternative options tabled for the Glenugie Business Centre."
Vice-chair Councillor Mike Roy said: “It is reassuring to see progress on the Fraserburgh site, which has lain vacant for a number of years. This will be a real boost to the town, and I look forward to seeing more detail about how it will be developed.
"The Glenugie Business Centre site could present an opportunity to do things differently in Peterhead and I am confident that the public will respect our decision to maintain their best interests.”