Renewed attempt to find operators for popular Moray cafes

New hope for Library cafe ©

A renewed attempt is expected to be launched to find suitable bidders for the right to operate Moray Council owned Cafe facilities in Elgin and Forres.

Proposals are being put to Councillors at a meeting of the Full Council on Wednesday that will renew attempts to find operators for the Cafe’s at the Elgin Library and Forres House Community Centre.

The facilities were offered under a franchise deal over several months earlier this year alongside the cafe at the Elgin Community Centre.

However, suitable bidders only came forward for the Elgin Community Centre – and even there the initial new operators went out of business after just six weeks – forcing the local authority to award the franchise to a second bidder at the end of June.

[box] While there were a number of ‘notes of interest’ for the remaining two franchise offers no offers were made.[/box] While there were a number of ‘notes of interest’ for the remaining two franchise offers no offers were made.

However, renewed interest was sparked by media coverage over the plight of the Elgin and Forres facilities when they were closed at the end of May.

In a submission to Councillors by the local authority’s estates manager Stuart Beveridge, councillors are being invited to agree a renewed attempt to find suitable operators for the facilities.

Mr Beveridge said: “Following recent media publicity around the closure of the cafes there were a large number of enquiries from parties interested in operating the facilities.

“It is therefore considered that there is likely to be interest in the facilities if they are re-marketed with vacant possession. Re-marketing would provide an opportunity for the provision of a catering service at both properties and potentially secure a rental income.

“It would be proposed that the premises be marketed, subject to a new operator being responsible for an equitable share of the property running costs at the facility.”

In April Moray’s MSP Richard Lochhead appealed to Moray Council to keep both facilities open until suitable operators could be found.

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