The project was focussed on a B listed former net store dating from circa 1804 which occupies a prominent location in the Peterhead central conservation area. The property had lain vacant since the early 1990s and had become very dilapidated.
The ownership changed hands at various times as would be buyers sought (and failed) to find an affordable solution. The National Trust’s Building Conservation Arm also carried out a study of the building, but could not find a viable solution. Initially, the building was owned by a private company – Fulmor Ltd. Like their predecessors, they could not find a viable solution, but they did maintain the floor of the building which inhibited further deterioration. Fulmor then approached Sandy Murray of Burnhaven Consultants to seek a solution and he in turn appointed a new professional team with experience in Historic Buildings.
There was strong support for the restoration of the building among the public and Aberdeenshire Council and other bodies, but no party at that stage was prepared to commit any finance as the building was in private ownership. There was some opposition to the idea of residential accommodation from parties concerned that this might inhibit the harbour’s operations. Historic Scotland (as it was then) was a strong supporter although it was constrained by the terms of it’s grant framework. The Lottery Heritage Fund did not support housing and so was unfortunately ruled out. As the Council faced a shortage of affordable housing in the town and this was considered a possible community benefit solution, with a financial assistance package being provided. Following three years of complex negotiations to put together a funding package, the project could then be realised. Fulmor Ltd have retained and fitted out the ground floor, alongside the harbour, as office accommodation. Langstane Housing Association took over the building contract to create 15 affordable housing units. Their involvement and financial commitment was the key to the overall viability of the project.