Tolbooth Asset Transfer Compromise Before Committee

By Jane Cruickshank / March 25, 2024
Stonehaven Council offices

A PARTIAL acceptance of the Community Asset Transfer request by the Tolbooth Association has been proposed by officers of Aberdeenshire Council – and will be considered by the Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee when it meets tomorrow.

Last year, the volunteers who run the ground-floor museum made a bid to take over ownership of the Tolbooth, the oldest building in Stonehaven. 

The first floor of the Tolbooth is leased as a restaurant by the Council. The Tolbooth Association say this will continue if they took over the building.

But it appears the rental income stream the restaurant brings to the local authority is a stumbling block in the Council’s willingness to part with the whole building and give it over to community ownership.

In the report prepared for tomorrow’s Area Committee meeting, councillors are asked to: ”Approve an Asset Transfer of the ground floor only to Stonehaven Tolbooth Association; and agree the retention of the upper floor as a commercial income generating asset to be retained by Aberdeenshire Council.”

Coastal Community Fund

Meanwhile, the concrete area next to the Cowie estuary footbridge – the Craw’s Nest – could be given a makeover if a fund application for proposals to refurbish it is accepted.

At the end of 2023, an additional £755,232 was awarded to Aberdeenshire Council from Crown Estate Scotland with £94,404 allocated to the Kincardine and Mearns Area.

Around half of the windfall is proposed for two projects at Johnshaven, with the Mill of Benholm Enterprise who were successful in their bid for ownership of the Mill of Benholm site through the Asset Transfer process being earmarked for £43,877 to improve their car park. A further £2,026 is proposed for the Benholm & Johnshaven Heritage Society for a new exhibition celebrating the 200th anniversary of the RNLI

And our councillors are also asked to agree to the remaining funds of £48,500.94 being allocated to improve the Craw’s Nest – with any balance going towards a litter campaign.

Area Committee Budget

Local groups who look to the Area Committee Budget for help with projects may be disappointed to learn of a reduction to our councillors’ cash pot. The budget for 2024 to 2025 is £71,200.00 – down from the £81,200 they had to award last year.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the committee is asked to agree the criteria for the use of the budget.

The Kincardine and Mearns Area Committee meets in Viewmount, tomorrow, Tuesday March 26 at 9.30am. Members of the public are welcome to attend. The full agenda and accompanying reports are available online.