£1.2M up for grabs for town improvements

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Convener of Moray Council Cllr Shona Morrison

Applications will soon open for a share of a £1.2 million fund to improve town centres in Moray.

Moray Council will welcome applications for turning empty space in Elgin, Forres, Buckie, Lossiemouth and Keith, into living space. Grants of up to 50% of project costs, capped at £150,000, are available for structural works, replacement windows, re-wiring and creating new entrances to properties.

Proposals to install transport hubs in Buckie and Elgin are also being considered. The £25,000 Buckie proposal would see the construction of a bus stop bay facing north on Barhill Road, to improve passenger safety when boarding and disembarking from the bus.

Meanwhile in Elgin the bus station would be transformed into a travel hub, with improved access for pedestrians and vehicles. A PA system would be installed, external lighting enhanced, and replacement seating and canopy. It’s estimated the works would cost £70,000, with match funding potentially identified from local transport partnership HiTrans and commercial bus operators Stagecoach.

Smaller settlements with a population of 1,000 or more, which includes Lhanbryde, Burghead, Hopeman, Dufftown, Kinloss, Cullen, Aberlour, Rothes, Portknockie, Findochty and Mosstodloch, are also eligible to apply for money from the fund.

Money is available for improvements to shop fronts, as well as the installation of digital smart systems, for example those monitoring footfall, road traffic, air quality and more.

Convener of Moray Council, Cllr Shona Morrison, said the aim of the fund is to breathe new life into town centres for the benefit of residents, visitors and the economy.

“What we want to see are transformational projects that will bring a real benefit to our town centres and settlements. This is a real opportunity for investment in Moray at no cost to the applicant nor the council. Any unspent money will have to be returned to the Scottish Government, so I’d encourage anyone thinking of applying to make sure they meet the application deadline of 21 June 2019.”

Roadshows are taking place across Moray in May where those interested in applying for a grant can find out more about eligibility and discuss potential projects.

The first event took place at the Inkwell, in the Elgin Youth Café, yesterday afternoon (Monday 13 May).

Further events are planned, as set out below, all running from 4pm to 7pm:

Lossiemouth: Town Hall, on Wednesday, 15 May

Cullen: Community Centre, Thursday, 16 May

Buckie: Townhouse, next Monday, 20 May

Aberlour (covering also Dufftown & Rothes): Fleming Hall, next Tuesday, 21 May

Lhanbryde (covering also Fochabers & Mosstodloch): café area of Lhanbryde Community Centre, on Thursday 23 May

Hopeman (covering also Burghead & Kinloss): venue to be confirmed, Friday 24 May

Forres: Lesser Hall, Forres Town Hall, Monday 27 May

Keith: Resource Centre, 26 Mid Street, Wednesday 29 May