A local performing arts group has criticised plans to bring the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to the north-east.
Last week, the Press and Journal revealed the Glasgow-based arts school, one of the finest in the world, had struck a deal to create a centre of excellence in Fraserburgh.
The move could help children from one of the country’s most deprived areas realise their dream of becoming a world-class musician, actor or filmmaker.
Under the proposals, the conservatoire will run weekly workshops with children in all the arts, as well as offer support to train arts teachers already in the area.
The workshops will be free for many pupils and a range of bursaries will also be on offer.
However, the Fraserburgh Junior Performing Arts Society has criticised Aberdeenshire Council’s partnership with the conservatoire, which allows them to use public facilities.
A spokesman for the group said: “It’s such a pity that one of Aberdeenshire’s oldest performing arts groups have to continue to work in a building which, due to the local authority, is becoming less and less affordable to rent.
“They now see fit to spend a very large sum of money importing a service which is already, in large parts, provided by Fraserburgh Junior Arts Society.
“Once that contract ends, we will continue to provide the service if we have not been put out of business by rising council costs and an extremely well-funded competitor.”
Council officers have welcomed the initiative, which they claim will also benefit local organisations.
John Harding, the authority’s head of lifelong learning and leisure said: “The partnership between Aberdeenshire Council and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a real coup for Fraserburgh and the wider north-east.
“It will offer development programmes for people of all ages to work with one of the best performing arts education establishments in the world.”
Mr Harding added the final details of the programmes the conservatoire will offer have yet to be decided, but confirmed they would complement existing performing arts activities.
He said: “Regarding the hire of facilities, the council is focusing on keeping charges sustainable for the community groups that use them.
“I’d recommend groups which work with children and young people to get in touch with us in case there are any discounts we can offer.”