Van­dals tar­get coun­cil’s old HQ

At­tempts go on to sell empty building amid van­dal­ism tar­get fears

The Press and Journal (North-East) - - FRONT PAGE - BY JAMIE ROSS

ABERDEEN­SHIRE Coun­cil’s for­mer head­quar­ters has been boarded up and is un­der po­lice scru­tiny af­ter it was al­legedly bro­ken into and van­dalised.

Ar­buth­not House in Peter­head has been empty for three years while the author­ity con­tin­ues to search for a buyer will­ing to take the premises on.

It has since be­come a tar­get for van­dal­ism and last night the coun­cil con­firmed po­lice had to be called to the B-listed prop­erty to re­ports that at least one teenager had bro­ken in.

All of the ground floor win­dows of the his­toric prop­erty, at the head of Broad Street, are now boarded up.

Lo­cal in­spec­tor Ge­orge Cordiner added: “As a re­sult of our in­quiries three male youths aged 13, 14 and 15 will be re­ported to the Youth Jus­tice Man­age­ment Unit.”

A for­mer coun­cil head­quar­ters was boarded up last night af­ter a trio of teenagers al­legedly found a way in to cause ex­ten­sive dam­age.

Ar­buth­not House in Peter­head was aban­doned by Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil in 2014 when the author­ity’s pur­pose-built Buchan House was opened just a few streets over.

The coun­cil has been of­fer­ing the B-listed building for sale ever since, with of­fi­cials invit­ing of­fers over £450,000.

Now, how­ever, it has emerged po­lice have been forced to at­tend the prop­erty to deal with an al­leged break-in.

Three teenagers, who can­not be named due to le­gal rea­sons, have since been ap­pre­hended by of­fi­cers.

Coun­cil­lors have raised con­cerns the building could be­come a tar­get if it re­mained empty for an ex­tended pe­riod. One said he was aware it had been van­dalised since its clo­sure.

Peter­head’s in­spec­tor, Ge­orge Cordiner, said a team had been sent to Ar­buth­not House at about 8pm on May 9 in re­la­tion to re­ports of youths at the premises and dam­age to the prop­erty.

“In­quiries were car­ried out and three male youths aged 13, 14 and 15 will be re­ported to the Youth Jus­tice Man­age­ment Unit as a re­sult,” he said.

Lo­cal coun­cil­lor Dianne Bea­grie said: “I’m glad that this is­sue was dealt with quickly. I look for­ward to see­ing this building be­ing de­vel­oped in the near fu­ture.”

Her fel­low coun­cil­lor, Alan Buchan, who owns a busi­ness nearby, said: “There’s been van­dal­ism at the back of Ar­buth­not House for a while and it’s some­thing I have been rais­ing with the coun­cil. It’s some­thing that the coun­cil – across the whole area – has to deal with.

“We’re try­ing to get it sold as quickly as we can, be­cause we need a new ten­ant in there to hope­fully brighten up that end of Broad Street which is start­ing to look a bit tired.”

A spokesman for Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil said the building had been “se­cure” be­fore the re­ported break-in. He said: “Since then the site has again been se­cured. The sale of this prop­erty will be con­cluded shortly.”

Last year, it was re­vealed that tax­pay­ers were pay­ing about £100,000 ev­ery year in rates to main­tain coun­cil of­fices in Peter­head, like Ar­buth­not House, de­spite them be­ing closed.

“We’re try­ing to get it sold as quickly as we can”

SALE: The boarded up for­mer Aberdeen­shire Coun­cil building, Ar­buth­not House, in Peter­head, has sat empty since 2014 when Buchan House opened

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