IMAGINE having to queue outdoors early in the morning mid-winter for the chance to book a venue a year in advance.
This is the reality for groups and individuals who wish to make use of Forres Town Hall says Sandra Maclennan of Forres In Bloom, who joins the queue every year ahead of fundraising coffee mornings.
She asked the November meeting of Forres Community Council if anything could be done to improve the process.
“I was second in the queue ahead of 15 others at Auchernack from 7.30am on January 3 this year,” she said. “I stood there until 9am. In this day and age, that is a bizarre system.”
The Gazette reported the same issue back in October 2014. A month later, a council spokesperson confirmed that, following a review, the booking period had been extended to before the Christmas period.
It then reverted back from December 3 to January 3.
In 2014, Moray councillor Lorna Creswell admitted “queuing up the first day Auchernack is open to book a year in advance for a two-hour coffee morning is ridiculous.”
She has since raised the issue on several occasions.
“The booking system will not be a priority,” she said. “With FACT applying for a Community Asset Transfer of the town hall, the council won’t be taking time to change it.”
A spokesperson for Moray Council said: “Bookings for Forres Town Hall are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis.
“In the past we’ve opened up bookings in January for the next calendar year, however after feedback from users was changed to December 6 this year, for 2019 bookings.
“Bookings can be made at Auchernack House, Moray Council’s offices on Forres High Street.”
Sandra believes more must be done.
“The date has been changed but not the process,” she said. “We need to have more thoughts on how this could be improved.
"This year the caretaker came along early and let us inside.
"We are very grateful for his consideration."