From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –
Stonehaven is one of nine town centres across Aberdeenshire benefiting from a ‘health check’ to assess their strengths, vitality and viability, weaknesses and resilience.
Following the success of a pilot scheme in Inverurie earlier this summer, the town centres in Banchory, Banff, Ellon, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Peterhead, Stonehaven, Turriff and Macduff will now undergo the important process.
The engagement enables residents, businesses and community partners to directly comment on a number of aspects of their town centres which builds up a clear picture of the health of a particular town.
Regular health checks are used to inform development plans and decisions on future planning applications but are also vital in monitoring a town centre’s performance.
Last undertaken across 12 Aberdeenshire towns in 2017, plans were underway to re-visit these early in 2020 but were delayed as a result of the Covid pandemic.
Now, the council’s Planning Information and Delivery Team will survey public opinions on a wide range of themes which will provide an insight into the economic, social and environmental factors which play such a critical part in the vitality of town centres.
These will include the vibrancy, range of shops and services and opening hours of the nine towns. The council will also undertake an accessibility survey with members of the community with lived experience of navigating the town centres, while footfall will also be monitored.
Businesses, residents and anyone who visits the towns to shop, work or learn can access the surveys here: https://engage.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/town-centre-health-checks
Respondents are able to complete multiple surveys for any town that they visit.
The closing date for all surveys is Friday, October 15.
Project lead Suzanne Rhind said: “The Inverurie pilot project has provided us with a tremendous amount of useful data and that has given us the confidence to proceed with the health checks in these nine towns.
“It is really important that every community use this opportunity to tell us how they feel about their town centre which will help us to better understand its needs and requirements and where change can be planned and developed in the future.
“Collaboration was a key part of the Inverurie pilot, adding a new dimension to the data collection. Moving forward to the other towns we will require every support from business and community groups and any help that can be given in sharing the surveys will lead to richer information being collected.”