Action plan for Braemar launched

Residents of Braemar packed the primary school hall to hear the outcome of a year-long consultation on the future of the village.

Between 80 and 100 people were present including representatives from Aberdeenshire Council, Marr Area Partnership and the Cairngorm National Park Authority.

After the twelve-month community consultation, four goals have been set for priority including further boosting of the village’s reputation as a tourist destination.

Other priorities were under the headings of ‘Community Services, Facilities and Transport’, ‘Young People’ and ‘Housing, Employment and the Economy’.

Chairman of the Steering group, David Geddes said: “These aspirations are not being imposed on the community from above, these are the needs as set out by the people living and working in this village. Braemar sits in the spectacular landscape of the Cairngorms National Park but also faces difficulties because of its location. Its remoteness is both an attraction and a challenge for those of us living here as well as for visitors.”

Stimulated by the Action Plan, a push by the community for an improvement in services has already resulted in the introduction of a twice-daily bus service between Braemar and Blairgowrie, allowing visitors and locals to complete the circle round the National Park by public transport. Consultation with the young people of the village led to the setting up of a Youth Club as well as a commitment from Aberdeenshire Council to improve facilities in the play park.

Aboyne, Upper Deeside and Donside Councillor, and Braemar resident, Geva Blackett said: “It was wonderful to see such a huge turnout from the community – every age group was well represented. Now we need to turn the community’s vision into reality and as the local councillor I will be working hard to make sure all the different council departments are aware of this document and helping wherever I can. I am also really looking forward to meeting the housing challenge – community ownership is a route we must look at, partly because the community can have its own allocations policy which means we can ensure at least some housing for local people and hopefully stop the drain of young people from this brilliant village.”