The future of Moray’s largest performance venue has been settled for the next two years.
Elgin Town Hall’s prospects were cast into doubt when Moray Council announced it wanted to shut the building and six others to save £248,000 over the next two years.
However, now campaigners have signed a two-year lease for the landmark to keep the doors open while its long-term future is settled.
Last night it was hoped that the move would help the hall to reach its “full potential”.
Mike Devenney, chairman of Elgin Town Hall for the Community, said talks would now begin to allow the group to take ownership of the B-listed building.
He said: “The lease is for two years, however it is highly likely that we will seek a community asset transfer within that time, for the hall to be transferred to the community permanently.
“All 10 members of the working have pulled off this fantastic feat having only been in existence for five months.
“The town hall’s future was seriously imperilled and we must now move on from rescuing it to placing it on a stable and sustainable footing such that it never faces such threats again.”
Campaigners have been supported after Moray residents supported their takeover with more than £3,000 to contribute to running costs. The new lease will take effect from tomorrow.
Elgin Town Hall was one of three venues given extra time beyond the June deadline. Reviews have also been scheduled at community centres in Dufftown and Cullen to finalise handover arrangements.
Yesterday, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said he was pleased Elgin hall now has a bright future.
He said: “In the last few months Mike and the rest of the committee have put in a power of work to get plans in place and to secure funds to ensure the venue can be run by the community.
“The group now has a fantastic opportunity to make more of the Town Hall and I know they have some new and creative ideas to ensure Elgin Town Hall is used to its full potential.”
The venue has also been included in proposals being drawn up by Moray Council as part of its bid for Growth Deal funding from the Scottish and UK governments.
Press and Journal 30th July 2018