Aberdeenshire Council Regeneration Strategy
From Strategy to Action: Developing Excellence in our North Coast Communities
Our Vision is for our 4 towns of Peterhead Fraserburgh, Banff and Macduff to be strong, resilient communities, where businesses and people are enabled to flourish.
This strategy sets out how we support the towns of Banff, Macduff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead. These are the areas where disadvantage is currently the greatest in Aberdeenshire and where we need to focus our efforts. Our strategy envisages three Action Plans, one for each target community in Peterhead, Fraserburgh and Banff/Macduff.
Action has already been taking place in these areas in recent years, especially in Fraserburgh which has been the main focus since 2013. We are now looking to apply the lessons learned there, and elsewhere, to roll out Action Plans for each area.
The Key Themes of Our Strategy
The three Key Themes for our Strategy are simple and straightforward.
People – From educational attainment and lifelong learning to active and healthy lifestyles, we depend on people who are willing to not only help themselves but others too. The things we want to achieve will need educated and well-trained individuals whose skills attract employment that pays well, with good working conditions. We need enterprising individuals whose innovation and creativity can grow indigenous businesses which make the most of our resources and opportunities. We also need to have resources in place to help those who are disadvantaged, whether temporarily or permanently, so that they can achieve their own potential.
Places – Quality People need Quality Places. The physical realm, the quality of our housing, recreational, retail, health facilities and natural assets are key to attracting and retaining the businesses and individuals that drive a successful and thriving location. The Property Investment Fund will play a key role, as will the Town Centre First Principle in prioritising investment and retaining vibrancy. Our towns have unique assets, fantastic harbours which root commercial activity and connect Aberdeenshire to other continents and trading cities.
Prosperity – Maintaining economic conditions will be a challenge with the volatility in the energy sector. However our coastal communities are more independent of this sector and with other opportunities to realise, we need to help businesses look wider and deeper for those opportunities. With quality people and places there are few boundaries to our prospects for achievement, success and prosperity. With that prosperity comes the opportunity to invest for the future.
While there are many actions which will be taken to achieve our goal of developing our communities some have strategic value which sets them apart in terms of importance to each town area. For instance:
- Achieving educational excellence, improving attainment at Peterhead Academy and developing the physical and social assets for 21st century education.
- A town centre which serves the whole settlement with services and provides a pleasant environment to dwell.
- Meeting the housing needs of the community.
Banff & Macduff
- Developing the harbour assets in both towns to catalyse commercial and leisure opportunities
- The importance of tourism and visitor facilities such as the Macduff Marine Aquarium.
- Maintaining a vibrant and attractive town centre offering in Banff and facilitating improvements to the built environment, particularly in Macduff.
- Provision of suitable land and buildings which in turn will increase quality job opportunities
- Developing the seafood industry as part of the North East Scotland Centre of Excellence.
- Developing the harbour asset for 21st century commerce.
- Tackling health inequalities and ensuring everyone can meet their own potential.
How Long Will It Take?
Change, especially transformational change, does not come quickly or cheaply. It does not come in a single action by a single organisation but lots of smaller ones, building up over time. So we have to commit to a plan extending 20 years into the future. For a strategy and plans to last that long they must be sufficiently flexible and responsive to the particular needs of individual communities while offering a common framework on which to build for the next generation and beyond. Review periods of 3-5 years are built in to allow for course corrections which can take account of changing circumstances.
How We Will Achieve It
The way we will achieve our ambitions is to develop joint Action Plans for each community, based on a partnership approach for the towns of Banff/Macduff, Fraserburgh and Peterhead. We will provide attentive leadership to the three partnerships and develop these relationships into strong bonds dedicated to continuous improvement. By focussing our efforts across the key themes of People, Place and Prosperity we will ensure that we move forward on a cohesive front rather than one action being at the expense of another. Robust outcomes and rigorous evaluation will ensure we remain on track.
Who We Will Work With
The principles of partnership working are already well established through Community Planning, sharing resources with other Councils and enterprise initiatives like Opportunity North East. The Council is also preparing to embrace the forthcoming principles of Community Empowerment and, just as this strategy is aligned with and acknowledges other national, regional and Council strategies, we hope the aspirations and objectives expressed here will influence the actions of others.
By doing so our efforts will be aligned, enabling us to build on those partnerships to lever in the expertise, resources and co-operation needed for transformational change. Across the public and private spectrum, and alongside communities and voluntary organisations, everyone will have a part to play in a successful outcome.
The Resources Available to Us
Aberdeenshire Council is committing considerable resources to the effort in both cash for the Action Plans and also the commitment of Council Services to work together even more closely on the target areas. Added to this we will encourage our public sector partners and private sector businesses to contribute where they can and we will seek external funding nationally and internationally to maximise our financial resources and help us achieve our objectives.
It is also essential that we mobilise the considerable resources that lie within our communities. The enterprise, imagination, commitment and voluntary efforts have in the past proved crucial to successful initiatives and will be so again.
In Scotland, local authorities like Aberdeenshire Council have responsibility for Local Regeneration. The Scottish Government defines regeneration as “the holistic process of reversing the economic, physical and social decline of places where market forces alone won’t suffice.”
In May 2013, Aberdeenshire Council agreed its regeneration strategy would be focussed on Fraserburgh, as the area of most need within the region. In August 2013 the Action Plan was agreed and officers began working on a range of environmental, economic and social projects with a range of public and private sector partners.
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