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Fraserburgh beach masterplan: All you need to know about £10m vision to turn the tide on Broch’s fortunes

The scheme includes Instagrammable letters spelling out the word "BROCH".

Designs for the Fraserburgh beach masterplan.
There are about 20 different mini-projects within the proposed masterplan for Fraserburgh beach. Image: Aberdeenshire Council/Kevin Murray Associates.

Giant Hollywood-style letters, huts with a hint of Hawaii and hammocks inspired by Fraserburgh’s fishing history could turn the town’s beach into a money-spinning destination.

An ambitious masterplan to rejuvenate the “hugely popular” waterfront and boost the local economy is taking shape.

And these are just some of the features being proposed as part of the multi-million-pound overhaul that has been brewing for the last four years.

It comes after council chiefs plugged nearly £7m into various projects to breathe new life into the town centre.

Brochers consider the beach to be one of the town’s best assets. Image: Kath Flannery/DC Thomson.

They now hope to do the same with the seafront and make it an “exciting destination” for both Brochers and tourists.

So what can we expect from it?

For the last 12 months, Kevin Murray Associates – who were hired to come up with the designs – have been gathering ideas about the revamp of the shore.

And following extensive talks with businesses and residents, the vision for an “authentic” Fraserburgh waterfront is now beginning to take shape…

Fraserburgh beach masterplan design map.
A map of the different section, which could be renovated under the proposals. Image: Aberdeenshire Council/Kevin Murray Associates.

We take an in-depth look at the Fraserburgh beach masterplan, including:

  • How the revamp could be the key to bringing a buzzing nightlife to the shores
  • What role school pupils played in shaping the designs
  • How much each stage of the ambitious revamp could cost
  • When people can expect to see big changes

How was the Fraserburgh beach masterplan developed?

Walking around a huge map of the masterplan laid out on the ground, Aberdeenshire Council’s regeneration ace Alastair Rhind explains the details.

We are at the town’s Faithlie Centre, and this is the final stage where Brochers can review the plans before costs begin to be worked out.

A huge map laid out on the floor at the town’s Faithlie Centre showed how the waterfront can be transformed. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

He wants this transformation to “stand the test of time”.

Alastair also wants the features to “scream Fraserburgh”, reflecting on the town’s maritime heritage as a major fishing port.

The Broch is one of the biggest fish ports in Europe. Image: Shutterstock.

He adds: “The main message from the community was that they don’t want us to overdevelop this space and ruin it.

“So our task was to get the balance right between keeping the natural environment of the dunes and the beach, but improve the facilities.

“We want all of these changes to still be valid in a few years’ time, and most of all – to be wanted and liked by the community.”

What are the key elements in the beach masterplan?

The proposed masterplan consists of around 20 “mini-projects”.

These include a play area for children, a beach hub with a café and a restaurant, and a designated “hangout” area with benches, hammocks and firepits.

And while the seafront might be “fantastic”, it’s fairly limited in size.

Enter design consultant Emma Churchyard.

She says they had to come up with a creative solution to make best use of the “precious” space available.

Fraserburgh beach masterplan designs
This map shows the main sections which will be developed as part of the masterplan. Image: Aberdeenshire Council/Kevin Murray Associates.

Most features will be made “flexible” so they could be used for different things.

Improving access for pedestrians, installing an additional zebra crossing and widening the pavements will be prioritised.

And Alastair tells me one of the first things on their agenda will be to get a bus service running from the town centre to the beach.

The design team (L-R) are Kevin Murray (KMA), Rob Thompson (Rob Thompson Urbanism) and Emma Churchyard (KMA). Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

What will big central building be used for?

The existing building on the seafront, which currently homes the Beach Cafe, will be replaced by a two-storey structure – bearing a slight resemblance to a Hawaiian hut.

The upper floor would become a mecca for foodies with a café and an evening restaurant, with sheltered outdoor seating offering views over the North Sea.

One of the units is planned to become a community space, which residents could hire for different events.

Fraserburgh beach masterplan designs
The Beach Hub will be the main “social space” in the revamped waterfront. Image: Aberdeenshire Council/Kevin Murray Associates.

It is hoped this would transform the beach into a nightlife destination for punters.

Meanwhile, the ground floor would host Fraserburgh’s Surf Club, and include changing facilities and public toilets.

How could new firms get a start with Fraserburgh Beach Masterplan?

One of the design team’s ambitions is to erect several smaller multi-purpose huts around the main hub.

At first, the so-called “pop-up huts” could be used by the Beach Café and the Surf Club to ensure they can still operate while the building is under construction.

Alastair Rhind explaining the project to residents. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

Alastair hopes the exotic-looking huts could give opportunities to up-and-coming businesses that want to give it a go on a temporary basis.

He says they could become “affordable and easily accessible” units for traders, boosting the variety of what’s on offer at the beach.

New play park with ‘engaging’ activities for kids and teenagers

The “tired” play area will be transformed into a fun paradise for children of all ages.

The preliminary designs – which include monkey bars, a sandpit, a climbing frame and a zip line – were drafted following talks with school pupils in Fraserburgh.

Other ideas were to add a soft play area for the youngest ones, and interactive sections with music and nature play.

Fraserburgh beach masterplan designs
There will be at least three types of seating – one of which will be “sculptured” to mimic sea waves. Image: Aberdeenshire Council/Kevin Murray Associates.

Drawn from children’s imagination, a seasonal waterplay area could be created to offer youngsters a “fun little splash pad” during the summer.

In the colder months, this would act as a stage for gigs and other events.

There will be something for older children too.

Teenagers will have their own “hang out” area with hammocks, inspired by the drying fishing nets near the town’s lighthouse.

Designs for the Fraserburgh beach masterplan.
This drawing shows some suggestions of play types from the school sessions and the zoning of the play area. Image: Aberdeenshire Council/Kevin Murray Associates.

‘Taking advantage of the natural space along the dunes’

Determined to keep the beach as “natural as possible”, the design team has opted to leave the dunes “untouched”.

They will instead use this to extend the promenade and improve visitors’ experience with picnic benches and picturesque viewpoints to admire the sea.

And for all lovers of the outdoors, there will be a designated BBQ and fire pit area.

Fraserburgh beach masterplan designs
Part of the beach will remain as it is to highlight the beauty of the town’s seaside. Image: Aberdeenshire Council/Kevin Murray Associates.

Hollywood-style sign for Instagrammable moments

For anyone eager to immortalise their trip to the beach with a photo, a huge Hollywood-style sign would be installed for just that.

The letters spelling out “Broch” are one of a number of creative touches across the promenade, aimed to give visitors “Instagrammable moments”.

The sign will welcome visitors to the revamped waterfront. Image: Aberdeenshire Council/Kevin Murray Associates.

Much like the nets-inspired hammocks, the design team has come up with three different types of seating – including one that mimics the waves of the sea.

What do you think of the waterfront transformation? Let us know in our comments section below.

How much would the Fraserburgh beach masterplan cost?

At the moment, there is no set price tag.

But Alastair reckons the whole beach masterplan will probably push around £10m.

However, this could change further down the line once the full business case is prepared.

Rob Thompson from Rob Thompson Urbanism speaking to locals Isobel Gregory and Shirley Craig. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

To give residents an idea of the cost, KMA compiled a price list of similar projects across Scotland.

Various grants from the Scottish and UK Governments will fund the revamp – with £100,000 already in the bag.

This is a breakdown of the indicative prices, as well as a rough timeline of when work on the mini-projects could begin:

Image: Aberdeenshire Council and Kevin Murray Associates.

How long will it take and what are the next steps?

The whole project will probably take 10 to 15 years.

This is providing that everything drafted in the initial proposals comes to life.

All of the mini-projects will be developed in stages over that period – but it’s hard to say when exactly residents will see change in their beach.

Now that the final designs have been presented to Brochers and approved, there will be at least another year of paperwork before any work can begin.

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