Visit to WWII POW camp fires up Lossiemouth community delegation

Lossiemouth deputation visited Comrie in Perthshire.

Community councillors in Lossiemouth say that they are determined to increase efforts to bring together groups and individuals in the town in a new Community Development Trust.

Two public meetings have been held in the town in recent months attended by over 40 local groups, organisations and businesses to look at ways to improve amenities in the town for both residents and visitors.

These have resulted in the focus being placed on key improvements that can be made in Lossiemouth with a draft community action plan drawn up for consideration by the groups in a final meeting early in September.

A group of community councillors from the town travelled to Comrie this week to look first-hand at their development trust. That was formed as a result of a similar visit to the town by the Westray Development Trust in 2006, inspiring the Perthshire community to take similar action in their own community.

Shortly after the Ministry of Defence put the local Army camp at Cultybraggan up for sale – and the new trust took the decision to purchase the site.

“We were all very impressed by what we saw and heard in Perthshire,” a spokesman for the Lossiemouth Community Council said, adding: “The former camp at Cultybraggan is now a perfect example of community ownership and development in action.

“The Comrie Community Development Trust (CCDT) have spent the last eight years developing the site for the benefit of the entire community. From a population of just a few thousand the CCDT has 700 members all of whom live in Comrie, with another 160 ‘associate’ members from the surrounding area.

“Cultybraggan has an Orchard and an adjoining area set to be developed as woodland. There are sports facilities, allotments and even a mushroom growing facility. Local businesses are involved with some of the former military huts turned into small business units, while a former nuclear shelter has generated income by being sold as a communications facility.”

Armed with information from their Perthshire visit and the methods used to create the successful Trust in Comrie, community councillors are now ready to set the ball rolling in Lossiemouth.

The spokesman added: “We have a draft action plan based on discussions and ideas from our previous meetings with community groups in the town. The next stage is to hold a third meeting at which we expect the Lossiemouth Community Development Trust will be formed – from there the community council will take a step back.

“While we do not expect to be owning parcels of land in the town as has been the case in Comrie, there was much that we have learned from our visit to Perthshire than can be applied in Lossiemouth.

“One asset that we would hope the new Trust will take on board is the Seatown bridge, while we have included in our draft action plan improvements for such as Station Park and Marine Park.”

The Lossiemouth Community Council will discuss the visit further at their meeting on Tuesday while a letter will be sent to community groups inviting them to return to the Lossiemouth Town Hall in September.

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