Councillors have taken a unanimous decision that has handed a historic Forres building into the hands of the local community.
The A-listed Tolbooth on Forres High Street was built in 1838 and was at one time the local police station complete with prison cells with an exercise yard to the rear.
When it was declared to be of no further use to Moray Council in 2010, the Forres Heritage Trust moved in to protect the future of the building. Their plans to transform it into a community venue and heritage centre were finally accepted by Councillors on Tuesday after they had rejected an initial bid in December.
Ownership of the building will now be transferred to the Trust who have already carried out extensive work on the Tolbooth, with support coming from several sources including the Budge Trust who provided a £10,000 grant.
Chairman of the Trust, James Duncan, welcomed the decision taken by the policy and resources committee, saying: “It demonstrates its belief in the abilities of all those involved in the Forres Heritage Trust as well as the strength of the business case produced by Bob James, a director of the Trust.”
Local independent councillor George Alexander is a director of the Trust and also welcomed the decision, saying: “The Tolbooth is an integral part of the history of Forres.
“The unanimous vote at the committee that this common good asset should be transferred to the Forres Heritage Trust is a huge endorsement of the belief they have in the abilities of this group.”