Funds for land­mark

Grant Lodge bid boost

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVID MACKAY

Cam­paign­ers work­ing to re­vive a trea­sured El­gin land­mark have re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant cash boost in sup­port of their plans.

The Char­ity TSI Mo­ray aims to re­open Grant Lodge – a for­mer li­brary – as a her­itage cen­tre and base for char­i­ties.

Thanks to a £13,091 grant from Mo­ray Leader, it will be able to em­ploy a project de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer to draw up a busi­ness case.

There are hopes the fi­nan­cial sup­port, which will cover 70% of the costs, will “kick-start” plans to re­vi­talise the pop­u­lar 18th Cen­tury Cooper Park build­ing.

Fabio Vil­lani, chief of­fi­cer of TSI Mo­ray, said: “We’re go­ing to be host­ing the staff mem­ber – sim­ply be­cause the Grant Lodge Trust doesn’t have the ca­pac­ity to hire peo­ple – while also giv­ing them man­age­rial sup­port and some­where to base them­selves.

“There is a po­ten­tial for us mov­ing to Grant Lodge. I’m not say­ing we’re think­ing very hard about it at this stage but it could be an op­tion in the fu­ture.

“There is cer­tainly a lot of po­ten­tial still in the build­ing, cer­tainly as a civic en­gage­ment cen­tre to en­cour­age peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in what goes on in Mo­ray.”

Grant Lodge has been dis­used since a fire started in its base­ment 15 years ago.

Sep­a­rate pro­pos­als have emerged to trans­form the build­ing into a whisky at­trac­tion as part of a bid for growth deal fund­ing from the Scot­tish and UK gov­ern­ments spear­headed by Mo­ray Coun­cil.

The lat­est fund­ing awards from Mo­ray Leader, which al­lo­cates fund­ing from the Euro­pean Com­mu­nity and the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment, also in­cluded back­ing for the Mo­ray Carshare scheme.

A grant of £136,680 will cover 70% of the costs to al­low the ini­tia­tive to ex­pand elec­tric car and bike shar­ing to more parts of the re­gion to cut down on pol­lu­tion.

Nor­man MacAskill, pro­gramme man­ager for Mo­ray Leader, said: “We hope the Grant Lodge fund­ing will help to kick­start the am­bi­tious plans for the de­vel­op­ment of this im­por­tant as­set for El­gin and all of Mo­ray.

“Sup­port for Mo­ray Carshare, mean­while, is ab­so­lutely in line with our aims of a low-car­bon econ­omy and ac­cess to ser­vices.

“We are con­fi­dent it will bring mul­ti­ple ben­e­fits,” he added.

“There is cer­tainly a lot of po­ten­tial still in the build­ing”

Pho­to­graph by Ja­son Hedges

SUP­PORT­IVE: TSI Mo­ray chief of­fi­cer Fabio Vil­lani says Grant Lodge has po­ten­tial as a civic en­gage­ment cen­tre.

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