New hope for derelict Cooper Park landmark

Grant Lodge – new hope emerging this week?

HOPES HAVE BEEN raised that there could yet be a future for a historic Elgin landmark after years of setbacks and disappointments.

Campaigners have battled against the odds in recent years to ensure a future for Grant Lodge, which since being boarded up following a fire in 2003 has lain neglected in Elgin’s Cooper Park.

The building was once the main library for Elgin having originally been gifted to the people of the town by the Cooper family in 1903. The fire almost exactly 100 years later ended its productive use, however, and not until the ‘Friends of Grant Lodge’ group was formed several years ago was the focus turned back on the neglected landmark.

While plans for the future have been laid by the group several times they have been hindered by budget cuts faced at Moray Council – however, this week members of the group are expecting to be told that there is finally some light emerging for the building.

The Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Grenville Johnston, will address a meeting on Thursday at which he will say progress is being made – although it remains at a slow pace.

Mr Johnston said that the group is beginning to see some clarity in its dealings with lawyers on what can be done under the terms of the original trust deed granted to Elgin by Sir George Cooper.

“I would be as bold to say I can see light at the end of a long tunnel,” Mr Johnston said, adding: “It will ultimately depend on Moray Council and what their decision will be, but I am going to report that we are making progress when the group meets on Thursday.

“However, people should not expect this to happen quickly – I do understand that a lot of people have heard this for months and years, and I understand their frustrations.

“It is a real challenge but I am going to the meeting as optimistically as I can.”