Fingers crossed – some welcome news
At a crowded meeting in Banff Academy on Monday 17th June representatives of Aberdeenshire Council revealed their alternative proposals for the new sports facilities in Banff/Macduff. The response seemed overwhelmingly positive. The Academy itself would be a focus, with a new all-weather pitch, and provision for the activities planned for the Better Life centre. If this goes through, it seems likely that the ‘Deveron Terrace’ field may well be spared. Members of BPHS will recall how our Society, and the Friends of Duff House, and Historic Scotland, won a verdict in a public inquiry to protect it from development as a football pitch, only to be over-ruled by the intervention of the Scottish government. Presumably the engineering challenges of that sloping field, when there were cheap uncomplicated alternatives at the Academy, have helped the local authority to reconsider the decision.
Your Secretary’s personal notion is that if the facilities planned for the Better Life centre are provided elsewhere, could they not use that site with its adjacent parking instead of the Canal Park for the supermarket parking? People would then be parking nearer Bridge Street and Low Street, and might be more easily tempted to shop in the town centre as well as at the supermarket. (They’ll tell us that everything Tesco-ish is set in stone).
We also heard at the meeting that there is a strong possibility that the library will remain on the High Street, perhaps expanding into the rest of the ground floor of the building. Many of our members have told us that somewhere on the High Street is the best place for the library. There will be another meeting to take this further, in Macduff on Monday 15th July, worth attending.
The Museum of Banff
Anyone who walks past the old museum will already have noticed the stylish new dark ground-floor window, and when the lights are on a striking bird of prey looming behind the glass. The museum has been closed so far this summer for a refit. It is amazing how setting out the treasures of the collection, some of them not on display before, with new lighting and paintwork and windows you can see through, makes such a difference. The Society is deeply indebted to the Common Good Fund and to the Co-op, for funding these improvements. And your Secretary, who is manually challenged and kept out of the way, can name the names of John Ord and Julian Watson (our Chairman) who have spent many hours over many weeks on the physical labour involved in the refit. It could not have been thought of without them. You should see the clever things they have done with lighting. Others have helped too. Our friends from the County Museum Service have gone out of their way to be useful.
We have not yet fixed a date for the launch of the Museum of Banff, but we promise you it is coming quite soon.