Peterhead is to get a town centre CCTV system after Aberdeenshire Council awarded the coastal town a £79,000 capital grant.
The project will now be taken forward by the town’s business improvement group Rediscover Peterhead in the coming months.
It comes amid the first tranche of grants from a £3.28 million allocation from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund to drive local economic activity and to stimulate and support economic improvements in town centres.
And the town’s Drummers Corner ‘Public Realm’ enhancement project, which will see the installation of a replacement performance ‘drum’ together with an upgrade of seating and lighting and new artwork, gets £145,000 under the new fund.
Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee heard that the aim of the fund is to invest in inclusive growth which supports town centres to become more diverse and sustainable, creating footfall through local improvements and partnerships which encourage town centres to become more vibrant, creative, enterprising and accessible places for their communities.
Earlier this year, businessman and Rediscover Peterhead board member Gilbert Burnett handed the council a petition bearing more than 800 signatures calling for CCTV in the town. Mr Burnett said that while the town wanted to see a greater police presence, it also wanted to make Peterhead safer for all through the use of CCTV.
Commenting on the funding, BID chairman John Pascoe said: “We are absolutely delighted to have been successful in securing this funding for CCTV – a project which has formed a major part of our business plan from the very beginning.
“A number of instances of crime at the tail-end of last year and the start of this really emphasised the need for a CCTV system in the town centre and obviously our board member Gilbert Burnett’s petition to the Buchan Area Committee reiterated that need.
“It must be stressed that this significant funding - along with the £32,000 grant we received from NESFLAG towards this year’s Seafood Festival and other monies secured from Aberdeenshire Council - has been secured with the strong financial leverage provided by our levy payers.
“More than £100,000 of investment has been attracted to the town centre by Rediscover Peterhead that otherwise would not have been forthcoming.
“In terms of a timescale for the introduction of CCTV we are working to a programme, but we are very much aware that not everything is under our control - including planning and electricity supplies - but we will definitely have a system in place by the end of this year.”
A specially-constituted panel considered the submitted projects and granted funding to ten schemes worth £2.7m, with the majority being worked up by groups independent of the council.
The panel will meet to decide the second round of funding awards in June, and with the fund over-subscribed with eligible projects competition will be high.
Key town centres, which could benefit from the fund, include Banchory, Banff, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Inverurie, Macduff, Peterhead, Portlethen, Stonehaven, Turriff and Westhill.
However, communities will be advised that certain projects, which are in smaller town centres and score well on other criteria, will also be considered.
ISC chair, Peter Argyle, said: “This money is intended to drive local economic activity, to bring transformational change for towns and their surrounding communities by creating growth which supports them to become more vibrant, creative, enterprising and accessible places.
“The first round of applications has seen funding granted to a diverse range of projects that will bring transformational change to our key town centres throughout Aberdeenshire.”