Work to breathe new life into a beleaguered north-east town centre with a £285,000 stage for public performances will begin next month.
Aberdeenshire Council has signed a contract with Bridge of Don-based KW Contractors to carry out the project at Drummers Corner in Peterhead.
Weather permitting, the work is expected to be completed in time for the annual Scottish Week celebrations at the end of July.
As a designated “performance space” it will feature a raised podium with disabled access and a drainage system with a maritime design etched into it.
The scheme includes plans for seven stone seats, five tree guards, three lamps, 20 low-energy lights, five electrical points, a pop-up electrical unit, eight artworks and a CCTV camera pole to link to the town’s new system.
The council also revealed that the existing drum structure will be “salvaged” and that potential options to “reuse it elsewhere in town” are being considered.
Chairman of the Buchan area committee, Norman Smith, said: “While we accept that this has been a long process, it was vital that we got the design detail right for the town centre and I look forward to the area being improved and enjoying a vibrant new lease of life in due course.”
In May last year The Press and Journal revealed that more than £106,000 had been spent ahead of any construction at Drummers Corner since 2015 on consultations, surveys and drawings.
Now, the final construction cost for the work is £285,000.
Former Peterhead business owner, Gilbert Burnett, claimed yesterday that the work was a “waste of money”.
He said: “It seems like a total waste – if it somehow generates 10 times the amount of income in the town, then I’ll eat my words.
“But I’ve heard from so many people that it’s just a waste, it doesn’t seem to fit what has been wanted from a performance space.
“Yes, it might look fantastic, but what’s the point if no one will use it?”
But chairman of the Peterhead Development Partnership, Stephen Smith, said the investment would “open up the area to a far wider array of activities for all ages to enjoy”.
He said it would encourage more people to visit our town centre and “support our local shops and businesses”.
The work was part funded by a £145,000 grant from the Scottish Government Town Centre Fund.