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Eilidh Whiteford, MP for Banff & Buchan

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BROCH SNP COUNCILLOR IN APPROACH TO HOTEL CHAINS OVER SALTOUN ARMS

Sunday, 27 December 2009

TOPPING SAYS 'COME TO FRASERBURGH'

Fraserburgh's SNP councillor Brian Topping has taken the unprecedented step of writing to around a dozen of Europe's top hotel chains with the message 'Come to Fraserburgh'.

The councillor – himself a former executive chef in one of the town's hotels - has made his approach after learning that the former Saltoun Arms Hotel in the town had failed to sell at auction in Edinburgh. Councillor Topping has also spoken out against town centre hotels being turned into 'houses of multiple occupation' or HMOs.

Commenting on his approach to the hotel chains, Brian said:

"I for one am not going to sit back and just hope that something happens. The Broch has lost a lot of town centre businesses in recent times but there are still a lot of very good local enterprises out there. The town centre has had a bit of a boost with Iceland opening up recently but we need more. I am also disappointed as someone who worked at the Station Hotel for many years that it is not now operating as a hotel.

"People who know me know that I take every opportunity I can to promote Fraserburgh and I will continue to do that.

"I have therefore written to around a dozen of Europe's top hotel chains alerting them to the fact that the Saltoun Arms is available, is on the market, and we'd love to see one of them come to Fraserburgh and take it over.

"I have no idea whether I'll even get a response or whether we're still too far into the UK's recession for hotels to be even thinking about new acquisitions but I certainly know that if you don't try then you definitely won't succeed. The Broch has the people who can fill the jobs which would be created if one of these hotel chains does decide to come here."

In his letter, Councillor Topping states:

"I am writing to you as the Aberdeenshire councillor for the town of Fraserburgh to draw to your attention the availability of the Saltoun Arms Hotel which I believe could represent an exciting opportunity for your hotel company.

"The town of Fraserburgh is a vibrant fishing port and is one of the pre-eminent shellfish and white fish ports in the EU. In recent years, major tourist attractions such as Scotland's National Lighthouse Museum and the award-winning Fraserburgh Heritage Centre have opened up. The town also boasts a superb 18-hole golf course and has several miles of magnificent sandy beaches which can lay claim to some of the best conditions for windsurfers in the country.

"However, Fraserburgh desperately lacks hotel accommodation and the associated function capabilities which a town of this size (population over 12,000) with its large rural hinterland should have."

Councillor Topping then goes on to offer the services of Aberdeenshire Council's Economic Development Department to those who are interested.

The move has been welcomed by SNP Westminster candidate for Banff & Buchan Eilidh Whiteford, who said:

"This is typical of Brian's 'can-do' approach to things and he is very much to be congratulated for his initiative.

"It is absolutely vital that Fraserburgh does not lose out by not having enough hotel accommodation. As Brian points out in his letter to the hotel chains, the Broch has a lot to offer visitors which those of us who live locally don't always recognise.

"But there's also the wider message that this send out about the town if we allow town centre hotels to be lost forever. Brian therefore has my full support in what he is trying to achieve and I hope he is successful in his aims."

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