An online petition has been launched in a bid to apply further pressure on Moray Council who are undertaking consultations over the future of Elgin’s Grant Lodge.
The Cooper Park building was the subject of a heated debate in the council chambers this month as councillors agreed to drop ambitious plans to find a new use for the historic building.
Designed by the renowned architect Robert Adam in 1750, Grant Lodge was gifted to the people of Elgin in 1903, but one hundred years later it was badly damaged by fire and has not been used since.
There was controversy earlier this month when Councillors learned that insurance cash paid out to the local authority as a result of that blaze still remained and had been kept in Moray Council’s general reserves.
While councillors agreed that the feasibility study into finding a future use for the building should end, they refused a recommendation that no further action be taken over the building – effectively consigning it to ruin.
Leader of Moray Council, Allan Wright, said that a meeting was now being set in the near future to which all interested parties would be invited, calling on any groups who had ideas for the future of the building to come forward.
Councillor Wright insisted that local groups would receive assistance from the council in any grant applications they might wish to make.
However, the Friends of Grant Lodge group formed to find a way of protecting the future of the building are being a petition that states: “We the people of Elgin want Moray Council to save Grant Lodge from further deterioration.
“We also want the building put back into a useable state so the community of Elgin and visitors alike can make use of it. On behalf of the people of Elgin, we wish Moray Council to reconsider prior decisions and discussions involving nothing and/or demolition – this simply cannot be allowed to happen.”
Backing the petition is Karen Ann Donald, who said: “Grant Lodge is of historic and architectural significance. The Council as Trustees , has shown to be incapable of maintaining the building and have been in breech of their obligations in its upkeep.
“Money from insurance following a fire 10 years ago is being withheld – in the meantime the building has fallen into a state of disrepair, and the community it is meant to serve has been deprived of the use of an historic building.
“This building must not be allowed to remain in its sorry state any longer. A joint plan for its future use must be made involving the people of Elgin as soon as possible. All the previous studies should be used to decide once and for all how it can become the grand and beautiful list B building it was and is supposed to be.”