Councillors place Speyside attractions into community hands

Aberlour Station – community transfer.

Councillors called the correct tune for Aberlour and Tomintoul this week when they agreed to hand over control of tourism assets to community control.

The Aberlour Community Association already leases a part of the old railway station from Moray Council and use it as a tea room during the summer tourist season. There was also a visitor centre on the site until last year, when council cut-backs forced its closure.

Now members of the policy and resources committee has agreed a proposal to hand the entire building over the to community – and only a few legal formalities need to be overcome before the old station is once again buzzing with visitors.

“We hope that the legal formalities can be completed quickly so that the centre can open at the beginning of June,” community association chairman John Milne said.

He added: “We want to focus on the wider Speyside area – the aim is to promote more of the region’s whisky distilleries and landscapes to visitors. The old railway building is really beautiful and can be found on many postcards, it is the ideal site for promoting tourism in the region.”

In a double celebration for the Speyside community councillors also approved a recommendation that the Tomintoul museum and visitor information centre be handed over to the local Development Trust.

A condition is that both organisations need to develop a full business case to show they can run the properties successfully.

Leader of Moray Council, Allan Wright, said: “I was involved in the first couple of years with the work to generate Tomintoul, so it is really pleasing to see it go from strength to strength.

“It shows what can be done in a rural community if the agencies and the people work together.”

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