Investment plans brought forward

A range of schemes have been put forward for investment under the Aberdeenshire Alliance 100 day pledge.

Proposals to spend up to £13 million savings from 2011/12 will be put forward for consideration to councillors at a meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee today (Thursday).

In early June, the Aberdeenshire Alliance launched its vision for the next five years and set out six key areas for development which would receive a one-off cash investment to boost activity.

The Alliance made a 100 day pledge to consider plans for delivering the six areas, with a particular focus on bringing forward proposals which are planned for later years.

The proposals focus on six key areas of investing in towns and villages; providing assistance to small businesses; boosting tourism and hospitality industries; increasing pre-school and nursery provision; increasing care at home services for older people; and accelerating plans to improve roads, provide affordable housing and replacing schools and care homes.

Local area committees, working alongside communities and partners, have put forward 68 schemes worth £5.8 million for investing in towns and villages.

The allocation for this area was £3 million.

Schemes include the renovation of the Stonehaven Clock Tower.

Proposals to assist small businesses include an independent study on the whitefish processing sector, a one-stop advice and information telephone number for all business enquiries and an apprenticeship scheme in agriculture.

Schemes have also been put forward to support the tourism and hospitality industry including a tourism campaign for Aberdeenshire, investment in walking paths including coastal paths, and the creation of a place brand for Aberdeenshire.

The other key priority areas of increasing pre-school and nursery provision, increasing care at home services for older people and accelerating plans to improve roads, provide affordable housing and replace schools and care homes have all been progressed, following reports to the policy committees.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Jim Gifford said: “The 100 day pledge has enabled us to focus attention and resources on those key areas which we felt would benefit from one-off funding and to bring forward activities that were planned for future years.

“The response from communities has been very positive and has helped us to focus on initiatives and projects that are of the highest priority.”

Deputy Leader of the Council, Cllr Martin Kitts-Hayes added: “We want to develop a reputation as a council that means business, that can understand the needs of local communities and respond by turning that listening into action. We have demonstrated that within just 100 days, we can produce meaningful, well-thought out plans for investment that will make a real difference to our communities and our businesses.”

The bids for investment will be discussed at today’s Policy & Resources Committee and a plan agreed for delivering the projects.