An independent consultancy report on the future of common good land in Forres that was thought to be imminent has been delayed until the Spring.
Campaigners against plans to develop land at Bogton Road into a retail park expressed their disappointment last night over the latest delay.
Stewart Noble, who is spokesman for the Battle for Bogton Group, said that they were “very disappointed” to learn that uncertainty over the future of the land would continue well into the new year.
A survey carried out by Moray Council amongst residents in the town came out overwhelmingly against the development plans first tabled in 2008 – but the company was subsequently granted outline planning permission for their plans to create a new supermarket, petrol station and additional retail units on the site.
Moray Council has assured local people will be “fully consulted” before any sale of the land is agreed.
Commenting on the latest delay, Mr Noble said: “I am very disappointed that this issue continues to drag on.
“It is creating huge uncertainty for many who will be affected by the outcome. It would take a very courageous retailer to commit to lease or purchase any of the empty premises on our High Street with the threat of possible competition from major National retailers.
“We were promised that the so called ‘independent consultants’ would complete their report to councillors by the end of October. They have already had six months to do this and we are feeling sceptical that this is simply a ploy in the hope that local folk will forget all about it.
“However, we have not gone away! There are over 1300 people on The Battle for Bogton Facebook Group standing by to take action when necessary. That’s considerably more than the protesters in Elgin! The group have already been very instrumental in shaping the Community Empowerment Bill with their petition of 2400 signatures to The Scottish Government.”
Mr Noble added that Moray Council’s chief executive, Rod Burns, had assured the group earlier this year in writing that residents of the town would be asked to vote on the issue and that the community council would be “fully consulted” in the process.
He said: “We are therefore entirely confident that if our councillors allow this issue to go that far that a huge majority of Forres residents will vote No, again.
“Our ‘Independent’ councillors have so far done absolutely nothing to support the majority of their constituents who want them to stop this development. I hope that they have now learned from the recent Elgin Link Road shambles that people are fed up with their voices going unheard and we will not forget or forgive them at election time.”