Old mill site is a blight on the town

Former owner of the Kirkburn Mill site in Peterhead has called for its regeneration.
Former owner of the Kirkburn Mill site in Peterhead has called for its regeneration.
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The former managing director of the Kirkburn Mill site in Peterhead has spoken out about the sorry state of the land which now belongs to Aldi.

Marian Shildrick, who still runs the family textile firm Smiths of Peterhead from a mill in Mintlaw, has called for urgent regeneration of the site.

German supermarket giant Aldi purchased the whole site, adjacent to the South Road and Kirk Street roundabout, in 2008 when Smiths went into administration.

Although the existing mill buildings were demolished in 2009, no Aldi store has ever been built and controversy about the future of the land - now surrounded by wooden hoardings - has raged ever since.

Mrs Shildrick told the Buchanie: “What I’m saying is that those hoardings are awful - it’s an absolute blight on the landscape.

“It’s the entrance to our town and I think Aldi should take down the hoardings, remove the rubble, plant some grass and open the site up.”

Mrs Shildrick contacted th Buchanie after sending a letter of complaint to senior Aldi staff. No reply was received.

In her letter to Aldi she wrote: “The area is like a bomb site. It is a disgrace and not acceptable and Aldi have a duty of care.

“Our town is twinned with Alesund in Noway.

“That began in the late 1960s through the fishing connection. It’s a gorgeous place and it’s embarassing to think of someone coming to visit.”

She also criticised plans to decorate the hoardings with artwork as ‘ridiculous short-sighted proposal unlikely to be welcomed warmly by the people of Peterhead.’ She is concerned about vandalism.

The proposal to decorate the area is in partnership with the Peterhead Civic Society, but Mrs Shildrick was at pains to stress that she did not wish to criticise their work.

A spokesman for Aldi told the Buchanie: “We were approached by the Civic Society to participate in a design competition to help improve the appearance of the site hoardings.

“Aldi is happy to support this project which is now underway.

“Meanwhile, we have a responsibility to secure the site and will continue to do so.

“We are also still pursuing enquiries from interested parties in our quest to dispose of the site.”

SNP councillor for Peterhead South and Cruden Stephen Smith, who has been vocal on the future of the land in the past, said: “I think it is incumbent on the owner of any site to ensure that it is maintained in a n appropriate condition.

I’ve raised this with Aldi previously and hope that the company will do the right thuing in response to continued calls for action. “