Councillor gains assurance that library cafes will not be stripped

Forres House Community Centre

Plans to find tenant’s who would reopen two Council-owned community cafes in Moray took a step forward on Wednesday.

Councillors agreed that a new attempt be made to find suitable bidders to operate the cafes in the Elgin Library and Forres House Community Centre after both were closed by the local authority earlier this year.

The meeting of the Full Council was told that equipment and fittings remain in place at the¬†venues and that they should be re-marketed with a view to new tenant’s sharing property running costs at the facilities.

However, Forres councillor George Alexander sought assurance that should no commercial tenants be found the cafes would not be stripped and forgotten.

Councillor Alexander said: “If nobody comes up that is suitable there may still be a possibility that social enterprise groups or local groups might want to take over the cafe.

“Can we get an assurance that if we don’t succeed in renting it out to a tenant that they will not start stripping it without coming back here to consult with councillors what the next steps should be?

“I fear that there may be people out there who would be interested but would fall down at some of the hurdles in this matrix such as previous experience – we may have a social enterprise group who wants to do it but they may not have a huge amount of previous experience.

“I’m just worried that we advertise it, there is no suitable tenant found and then the place gets stripped out before the community gets a chance to do something with it.”

Councillor Alexander’s concerns were noted with an undertaking given that if the re-marketing exercise was unsuccessful the matter would be brought back to a suitable committee for further consideration.

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