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Councillor calls for Council Chambers to be bulldozed

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A Fraserburgh councillor has called on the town’s Council Chambers on Saltoun Square to be bulldozed.

Councillor Michael Watt made the suggestion during a discussion on regeneration of Fraserburgh’s town centre at a meeting of the Banff and Buchan Area Committee this week.

As well as the demolition of the historic chambers, Cllr Watt also said he wished to see two large paintings, which hang inside the building, to be transferred to a museum or destroyed.

Commenting, Councillor Michael Watt said: “I said it was an old building and it was like filling a bucket with holes to keep pouring money into it and the money keeps coming out again.

“The best thing they could do is bulldoze the lot and build a new, attractive building for the town centre.

“There are two old, black pictures there and the best thing to do is put them in a museum or put them in a skip.

“I suggested that we move to a new building. There is one toilet for more than 60 people, both men and women.

“If you ask 90% of young people in the Broch, most of them wouldn’t know where the council meet.

“There’s an old cliche - if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. And that’s part of the problem with the Broch - we need change and revitalisation.”

However, Councillor Watt’s Fraserburgh counterpart Charles Buchan distanced himself from the suggestion of demolishing the chambers.

Councillor Charles Buchan commented: “I welcome very much the Council’s plans to redevelop the Saltoun Square complex of historic buildings, and to improve the facilities for members of the public.

“The recent architect’s report from HRI highlights these buildings as of great importance to Fraserburgh’s sense of place, and I am pleased the Council is to devote a large amount of money to the project, taking more investment into the town centre, increasing footfall with the potential for more trade to local shops, and boosting the town economy. Even the statue of the Waterloo Saltoun is to be sorted!

“I asked for special consideration for the valuable oil paintings, and high quality wood panelling, during the refit.

“This welcome was shared by all members present apart from Cllr. M. Watt who expressed the surprising wish that the building should be bulldozed and replaced by modern buildings. I completely dissociate myself from this suggestion.

“Councillors from new towns such as Westhill and Portlethen, with no history, would give their eyeteeth to be able to have such historic buildings. This isn’t the first time Cllr. Watt has come up with surprising suggestions. On the recent discussion on town parking charges, Cllr. Watt proposed to solve the parking problem by filling in the Harbour, and using the new land as a car park, forgetting that the harbour was the reason for the foundation of Fraserburgh by the Frasers, and is essential to lead Fraserburgh forward into the future.”

What do you think of Councillor Watt’s suggestions? Do you think Fraserburgh should push for the chambers to be demolished and replaced, or should we embrace our historic buildings and assets? Let us know via email at news@fraserburghherald.com or via our social networking sites on Facebook or Twitter.

 

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