A councillor has called for a north-east port to be made a priority in negotiations over a £2.9billion City Region deal.
Fraserburgh was rocked last month by the news that hundreds of jobs will be lost at Young’s Seafood factory following the loss of a major contract.
Now local councillor Ian Tait has claimed the town deserves a sizeable investment, and implored the team behind the deal to look beyond Aberdeen.
“We need to broaden our economic base so that, while fishing and fishing related employment remain very important, we also diversify to create new jobs in different manufacturing areas such as technology and engineering,” he said.
“The city region deal presents an opportunity to do this.”
Mr Tait said he wanted to encourage new firms and industries to set up in Fraserburgh so that “if one industry sneezes, the whole town doesn’t catch a cold”.
He suggested building a manufacturing park to encourage technology and engineering firms and – as a strong advocate of dualling the A90 Aberdeen to Fraserburgh road, he added the deal is an opportunity to improve transport links.
“It would be totally and utterly wrong if the majority of this money is spent on things round about or in Aberdeen,” Mr Tait said. “The outside areas of Aberdeenshire, particularly Fraserburgh, have a strong claim on this money due to the job losses.”
But last night a spokeswoman for the Aberdeenshire Council team involved in negotiating the deal said: “The Aberdeen City
Region Deal is exactly that – a deal which will benefit the whole region, including improved infrastructure and transport.”
She said the local authority already has “mechanisms in place” to tackle the localised issues raised by Mr Tait, including the ongoing regeneration strategy which was recently revised by the SNP administration.
The spokeswoman added that the council was “always happy to listen” to particular views of local members and communities.
The City Region deal was announced by Chancellor George Osborne in his budget speech in March. Last month a proposal was submitted by Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire councils to the UK and Scottish governments.