Unsightly scaffolding which has blighted Peterhead’s town centre for more than six years is set to come down this week.
Contractors working at the site of the new Travelodge Hotel on the town’s Chapel Street have said that the scaffolding – which was first erected in 2010 - will finally be removed over the next few days.
Peterhead councillor, Alan Gardiner, who has been battling for years to get the eyesore removed from the heart of the Blue Toon, says he is delighted that the project is finally coming to fruition.
Speaking exclusively to the Buchanie, Cllr Gardiner said: “The first job I undertook when I was elected to council was to try and get the scaffolding removed.
“When I looked into the situation I wanted to get everyone round the table to try and resolve the matter as things were at an impasse.
“It took a lot of meetings and man hours to get the situation resolved and that led to the first set of scaffolding being removed in 2014,” he said.
“We then had to find a developer for the site and that’s when Travelodge came onboard and that led to the second lot of scaffolding being erected a few weeks later – construction scaffolding rather than safety scaffodling this time.”
Cllr Gardiner said there were some issues between the shop owners and the contractors, and again a lot of time and effort was put into meetings to resolve various issues but eventually the site was secured. “We have now reached the point where the scaffolding will be coming down for the final time and the new hotel opening in the next few months or so,” he said.
“I think it will bring a huge feelgood factor to the town - just seeing the building without the scaffolding will be a great relief to those who work and shop or own businesses in the town centre.
“The removal of the scaffolding will allow the development of the shops underneath and there has been a lot of interest in these units – brands who are quite keen to be associated with Travelodge.
“We hope that we can negotiate to bring in a couple of these brands to compliment the existing shops in the town centre.”
Cll Gardiner said that there would be four new shops along with access to Travelodge on ground level and the hope was that if some brand names could be secured for the units, this in turn would lure other high street name.
“Hopefully it will have a domino effect in helping to attract other well-known names into the town,” he said.
“There has been a lot of hard work done by Aberdeenshire Council’s economic development department behind the scenes in a bid to engage businesses and start talking up our town.
“I am aware, and many people have commented to me, that they believe that even in these challenging economic times, of the importance of remaining positive and talking the town up. I have definitely noticed a positive change in people’s perception of the town recently.
“Work is now starting on getting Peterhead back on its feet and I hope that this will be the start of more positive times for the town,” he added.