Published: 16/02/2017 16:31 - Updated: 16/02/2017 16:42

Make your voice heard!

YOU are invited to raise or discuss any local issues at Forres Community Council (FCC) at 7.15pm tonight (Thursday, February 16).

Former FCC secretary Heather Shaw accepting a leaving gift from chairman John Guthrie.
Former FCC secretary Heather Shaw accepting a leaving gift from chairman John Guthrie.

FCC ascertains and expresses the views of the community to Moray Council and other public bodies.

There are currently ten FCC representatives who meet on the third Thursday of every month at the Tolbooth, discussing points raised by local people and listening to topical guest speakers.

Grab the chance to highlight what really matters to you, at the meetings, by contacting a community councillor, or by emailing ForresCC@gmail.com.

A number of ongoing issues were looked at during January’s meeting, including siltation of the Mosset Burn, the Forres Common Good Fund and a safe crossing over the A96 to Forres train station.

Restoration of the Tolbooth clock tower and a proposed money-spinning telecommunications mast at Forres Golf Club were also on the agenda.

Unfortunately, FCC councillor Kenny Shand was unable to attend. Moray councillors George Alexander, Lorna Creswell and Anne Skene were present.  Former secretary Heather Shaw was initially given a send-off at the start of the meeting, having resigned due to family matters.

“Heather is a great friend to us all,” said FCC chairman, John Guthrie. “We thank her for everything she’s done for us and know she will keep up the good work for Forres.”

 Councillor Graham Murdoch and FCC secretary Eleanor Hayward are gathering support for a dredging of the Mosset Burn to clear silt that has been building up for decades.

“We have discussed the issue with all of the councillors now,” said Cllr Murdoch. “Eleanor is contacting the relevant bodies for their views.

“I’ve already spoken to Grant Speed and Andy Scott at Moray Council, so we are making progress.”

A meeting with associated organisations, including Scottish Water, was scheduled for Wednesday, February 8 at Forres House Community Centre.

Cllr Hayward will provide the outcomes at the next FCC meeting in the Tolbooth.

 FCC have focused on Moray Council’s administration of Forres Common Good assets for more than a decade. Last year, a letter was sent to the local authority requesting a guest speaker attends an FCC meeting to discuss it.

“We hoped to hear from corporate director Roddy Burns and head of financial services Margaret Wilson,” explained cllr Hayward.

“Unfortunately the accounts team are busy dealing with their dire financial position and council don’t have the resources to send anyone else.” “Roddy Burns is aware of your request,” added cllr Creswell. “However, he’s really busy and under pressure.”

 FCC are also campaigning for a pedestrian crossing of the A96 to the new train station that is due to open later this year.

Cllr Hayward raised a historic issue on behalf of local councillor, Aaron McLean, regarding the crossing from Pilmuir to Lidl.

“Aaron has received emails from a concerned member of the public,” she said. “The issue there goes back nine years when the application to open a supermarket on the Greshop went through and nothing was done to improve safety.

“The roads department advised traffic lights were unnecessary because HGVs always approached at 40mph or less. Transport Scotland and BEAR were fine with that too.”

Cllr Alexander replied: “The decision must have gone via council planners so the elected councillors must have voted it through.

“Having a cheap supermarket directly across the A96 from a housing estate is beyond stupidity.”

“It was a very strange decision,” added cllr Guthrie.

 Cllr Alexander is also chairman of Forres Heritage Trust (FHT), who lease the Tolbooth out to groups including FCC for meetings and events.

Last month, FHT held the first in a series of fundraising local history lectures in the Tolbooth courtrooms.

“The witches talk was a great success but a bit of a disaster,” said the councillor. “At around 6.45pm, we had already filled the venue so unfortunately had to turn away around 60 people.

“On another note, we have consulted Historic Scotland about making the Tolbooth clock tower accessible to the public and are awaiting a response.”

 Finally, cllr Hayward was sent a copy of a planning application for “installation of 30 metre Swann lattice tower” at Forres Golf Club.

Cllr Guthrie told the meeting he had visited the proposed site for the telecommunications mast.

“It’s near the cafe in the trees,” he said. “The MOD objected to a similar application last summer but I think it offers the golf club a bit of financial stability and everyone else a better phone service!”

Cllr Graham Hilditch added: “It’s a good proposal and a cash generator for the club.”

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