After years of searching, the Fraserburgh Sea Cadets have finally found a new home.
The group has been making do with meeting in a shed at Sandhaven in recent times.
Plans to create a new purpose-built centre or take over a former care home – at a cost of £220,000 – have come and gone.
Now, the group’s hunt has finally come to an end and leaders say its “future has been secured”.
They will soon have a new headquarters in the heart of the town, after taking over Aberdeenshire Council’s old Grampian House base on Commerce Street.
They paid £30,000 as part of a community asset transfer, which councillors rubber stamped this week.
Bargain building was on market for £100,000
The three-storey Grampian House was previously used by the local authority for a number of years, but was vacated in 2020 and has not been used since.
It was put on the market in April and just one offer was received – however it was “well below” the asking price of £100,000.
The Sea Cadets submitted their asset transfer request in May and proposed to use the building as its new headquarters and a community hub for other local groups.
Lieutenant commander, Craig Trail, told the committee that the Sea Cadets had been “in the heart” of Fraserburgh since 1943 and the asset transfer would secure the future of group “for many years to come”.
The group currently operates from Sandhaven harbour but three different sessions have to be held per week instead of the full company meeting together at once due to the size of the building.
At the moment the group has a “strong” company of 39 cadets, a team of 18 volunteers and seven new cadets joining in the near future.
New HQ to have many benefits
Mr Trail added that the new headquarters would help to increase the number of Sea Cadets and the building could also serve as a base for the Men’s Shed.
The Sea Cadets have been in discussions with the Men’s Shed, soon to be rebranded Fraserburgh Community Shed, to provide the organisation with meeting space there.
Voicing his support for the asset transfer, councillor Brian Topping said: “I’ve always been a great supporter of the Sea Cadets.
“The work they do is really exceptional, with the young people they attract and how they shape and mould them for the future to be good citizens.
“The added bonus is the Men’s Shed because that really needs room to grow.”
‘From strength to strength’
Committee chairwoman Doreen Mair added: “The facility down at the harbour is no longer fit for purpose for the Sea Cadets nor the Men’s Shed.
“I think that the groups can go from strength to strength if they have their own premises and I think it is great that there are more groups looking to join in.”
Unit Management Team Chairman Kevin Rae said the group was “delighted” with the approval
He added: “Grampian House will be our new home and will offer opportunities for other groups to utilise as a community hub.
“We’d like to thank our community for their support, Aberdeenshire Council in accepting our offer for the property and to the Area Committee for approving the transaction.”
The Fraserburgh Sea Cadets have been trying to find a new headquarters for several years.
In 2017 the group planned to build a replacement building at Sandhaven Harbour however the proposal required “substantial investment” and was not viable due to flood defence requirements.
Earlier this year the Sea Cadets had hoped to purchase the former Buchanan Care Home but the purchase fell through as their offer was refused.