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Buchan Councillors Welcome Lottery Boost for Aden Country Park

>> Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Aberdeenshire Council is to receive £149,500 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards an ambitious £1.4million restoration and redevelopment project for the popular Aden Country Park in Mintlaw.

The regeneration project aims to both enhance and conserve the attraction’s rich cultural, architectural, archaeological and natural heritage, while restoring it as a prime visitor destination in rural Aberdeenshire.

The development funding of £149,500 has been awarded from the first round HLF Parks for People funding programme and will help the council progress plans to apply for a second round, full grant of £1,399,500, at a later date.

Aden Country Park was purchased by the council’s predecessors in the 1970s, at which time it renovated listed buildings, interpreted the outstanding agricultural history of the area, and opened it for the public to enjoy.

Forty years later, this project aims to improve the visitor experience, expand and increase opportunities for learning and biodiversity, while protecting and recording unexplored aspects of the park – including a Bronze Age settlement and stone circle.

Plans will also be developed to upgrade the existing children’s play area, create a new interpretation centre and outdoor learning classrooms, and examine how significant buildings at risk of dilapidation will be restored to create new enterprises which will help sustain the park in to the future.

The project will also have a key focus on visitor engagement and the development of volunteering and learning opportunities at the park.

Welcoming the funding, Buchan Area Committee chair Cllr Stuart Pratt said:

“We’re delighted the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support.

“Aden Country Park is an important resource for both the local community and visitors to the area, and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving the park for future generations to enjoy.”

Committee vice-chair and Central Buchan councillor Lenny Pirie added:

“Public parks such as Aden have immense value and benefits to people of all ages.

“Aside from the economic value and the positive impact on physical and mental health, there are also social, biodiversity and nature benefits that will be enhanced through the Heritage Lottery funding support.”

The success of the restoration and redevelopment project has been made possible through a partnership approach between Aberdeenshire Council’s Buchan area office, and the authority’s landscape, cultural, ranger and archaeological services, coupled with community partners including Buchan Development Partnership and the Friends of Aden Country Park.

Further information about Aden Country Park can be found at www.adencountrypark.org.uk.

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Have Your Say on Education & Childrens' Services in Aberdeenshire

>> Monday, 11 July 2016

A plan setting out the future direction of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services over the next three years is now open for public comment.

The plan sets out the council’s priorities on the delivery of a wide range of services including schools, nurseries, cultural services, family centres, leisure facilities and community learning.

The council is asking for feedback on seven priority areas that have been identified to help shape the wider aims of the service, including:

  • improving learning and teaching and the quality of the curriculum in our schools, early years and other learning establishments
  • taking an evidence-based approach to raise levels of attainment and close the gap which sees children and young people living in relative deprivation less likely to achieve their full potential
  • transforming our services to give every child the best possible start in life by effectively supporting them and their families and providing targeted intervention where necessary
  • making sure our buildings create an inclusive and positive environment for learning, working and engagement
  • supporting our communities to become healthy and vibrant by promoting and delivering healthy activities and reduce health inequalities
  • developing effective partnership working so children and families receive the support they need, when they need it, and as far as possible, within their local communities
  • investing in the learning and development of our staff to build a highly-skilled workforce and improve leadership at every level
Chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Cllr Alison Evison, said:

“Education and Children’s Services are relevant to everyone in Aberdeenshire who uses the schools, libraries or sports and leisure facilities.

“We’ve had some tremendous achievements over the past few years and we are looking to build on those.

“That’s why we want to hear from the people living and working here, so we can take their views into account as we look to the future.”

Vice-chair of the committee, Cllr Charles Buchan, said:

“This plan will give the service a strategic focus for the next few years and will allow us to strengthen connections with local communities.

“The consultation is open to everyone and this is their opportunity to tell us which direction they would like Education & Children’s Services to take over the next three years.”

To comment on the Education and Children’s Services Plan 2016-2019 please visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/ECS_SP_2016

The consultation will run until Sunday, August 28 and printed copies are available from: Sarah Godfrey, Education and Children’s Services, Woodhill House, Aberdeen, AB16 5GB.

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Local Councillors Welcome Fraserburgh 2021 Lottery Funding

A major regeneration project in Fraserburgh has secured the last of the funding it needs to progress and deliver visible improvements for the local community.

Aberdeenshire Council has been successful in its second round funding bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund for the £5.7 million Fraserburgh 2021 project.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (Townscape Heritage) has awarded around £1.8 million, meaning all necessary partner funding is in place to start work.

The rest of the money comes from Aberdeenshire Council (£1.4 million), Historic Environment Scotland (£1.2 million) and the Scottish Government’s Regeneration Capital Grant Fund (£0.6 million), together with expected private owner contributions (£0.7 million).

The project’s principal aim is to support the regeneration of the town’s built heritage.

Priority projects include improving historic properties in Saltoun Square such as the Town House and Police Station, which are both in need of repair.

Grants will be made available to help private property owners carry out repairs to properties within the town centre Conservation Area.

Local heritage projects will also be carried out with local groups including Fraserburgh schools.

In the course of applying for the latest lottery funding, work was carried out to further develop plans and costings for building projects.

As many owners and businesses as possible in the main regeneration area were contacted about the scheme and public sessions were held to help inform the community about the proposals.

Applications for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent for improvement works to the Town House and Police Station have now been submitted.

Designed in 1853 by architect Thomas Mackenzie, the Town House is category B-listed. The police station was added in 1906, designed to match its neighbour, but is currently unused.

The inventive reconfiguration of these two historic civic buildings has been developed by Moxon Architects and Conservation Architect Alan Marshall.

The Town House at 1-3 Saltoun Chambers – which houses the council chambers – will be sensitively restored and combined with the adjacent former police station.

Non-original features at the rear will be demolished to make way for an extension, which will accommodate meeting rooms for council and public use.

The layouts of both buildings will be modified to suit the new combined premises, with principle routes between the entrances, council chamber and council services passing through the new extension, with greater accessibility for all.

The project is intended to create a significant public asset in a key location in the town centre at the junction of Saltoun Square and Kirk Brae, while also enhancing the North Braeheads area to the rear of the building, which will be landscaped.

Commenting, Fraserburgh SNP councillor Brian Topping said:

“I am absolutely delighted as this funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund will allow the council to renovate and radically improve the former council chamber and former police station into a community building, allowing meeting space for the community, a one stop council desk, information about council services and much more

“It will retain our local heritage which is very important and will enhance our town centre appearance and hopefully encourage other property owners to tidy up the appearance of their property.

“This is a very positive step for the community and I am grateful to the council staff who have worked so hard to secure this funding for the Broch, which I am very proud to represent.”


Fraserburgh SNP councillor Charles Buchan added:

“I’m overjoyed that at last all the pieces of the jigsaw are now in place so work can start.

“It's great that this huge amount of money is coming into the town from outside sources, and we will be working to ensure it makes a difference to Fraserburgh.”


Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), Cllr David Aitchison, said:

“The announcement of the last of the funding to allow this project to go ahead is a great vote of confidence for Fraserburgh businesses and communities.

“This is a significant and very visible project which is an integral part of regeneration plans for the town and I hope local property owners will continue to work with us to bring up the quality of the town centre generally, which should have a positive impact on the Conservation Area and the wider community.”


ISC vice-chair, Cllr Stephen Smith, said:

“There has been significant effort going on behind the scenes to make this project not only viable in the current financial climate, but to make it a success.

“A significant sum of money has now been secured, and of course Aberdeenshire Council is contributing to that, demonstrating the faith being placed in the aims of this regeneration project, which seeks to improve the town for the benefit of the wider area and communities.”


“Thanks to National Lottery players the final piece in the jigsaw of this ambitious partnership has slotted into place,” said Lucy Casot, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in Scotland.

“The restoration of a number of key historic buildings in the town centre will boost the local economy helping secure a brighter future for Fraserburgh. Once finished, the scheme will reinvigorate an even greater sense of pride into local people who call this famous fishing town home.”

Work on Fraserburgh 2021 starts on the ground in August and will run until 2021. Look out for more updates on the Fraserburgh 2021 Facebook page.

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Public Vote Opens on Aberdeenshire Design Awards 2016

Members of the public can now participate in a project intended to raise and recognise the standard of design in Aberdeenshire.

Aberdeenshire Council’s well-established biennial design awards have this year been revised to mark the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.

Although an expert judging panel will help determine the winners, a public vote is now open to allow local people to have a say on their favourite designs.

Entries to the awards are expected to focus on conceptual design based on innovation, rather than completed projects as in previous years.

This change was intended to encourage more student entrants, as well as established architects and developers, contributing to the awards’ aim to encourage the very best in design into the future.

Projects must show exceptional quality and merit to receive an award.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, Cllr David Aitchison, said:

“We recognise that good design is important to the public realm and in a wider context believe that development must be of benefit to the people.

“I would encourage anyone who has an interest to have their say on the submissions made to this year’s awards and help to push up the standard of design.”

ISC vice chair, Cllr Stephen Smith, said:

“Our Design Award scheme has operated since 1997 as a means of raising the profile of good design and has been an excellent means of not only stimulating greater awareness, but of promoting excellence and innovation.

“We hope the revised awards will help to boost that even further and the public vote is an important element of that.”

Seven projects successful at Phase 1, submitted as conceptual designs, will be formally judged. But they are also being put forward for a separate public vote.

Anyone can go online now and view short videos outlining each of the projects before casting their vote on the Aberdeenshire Council website: http://bit.ly/28SDVQc.

The vote will close on Monday 18 July and the winners will be announced in an award ceremony at Banchory’s Woodend Barn on Thursday 1 September.

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