THE PUBLIC are welcome to the first Forres Community Council (FCC) meeting of 2017 at the Tolbooth on Thursday, January 19 at 7.15pm.
Local Moray councillors George Alexander and Lorna Creswell attended a short December meeting where issues discussed included siltation of the Mosset Burn, ship-to-ship oil transfer in the Moray Firth, traffic lights at St Catherine’s Road, High Street parking and the future of Leanchoil Hospital.
Community councillor Graham Murdoch is gathering support to address the issue of siltation in the Mosset Burn and has spoken to the director of Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fisheries Trust, Bob Laughton.
Cllr Murdoch said: “After Christmas, I will approach other groups including Forres Area Forum for input.
“The more involved over the years and work ahead, the better.”
Cllr Creswell told the meeting she had recently attended Nairn Community Council along with 20 concerned members of the public who were there to discuss ship-to-ship oil transfers in the Moray Firth.
She said: “Findhorn and Kinloss Community Council also object to the process.”
Cllr Alexander claimed traffic lights will be installed this year at the junction of St Catherine’s Road and St Laurence Court.
He said: “It will happen before the end of the financial year. Moray Council already has the sufficient funds but needs match-funding for alterations to the infrastructure in that area.”
Community councillor Shaun Moat raised the issue of indiscriminate parking in Forres town centre.
He reported that a member of the public had complained to him that police are ignoring drivers parking on zigzags, double yellows at bus stops and road junctions on the high street.
“I myself have seen a number of cars parked illegally outside takeaways and banks which causes issues with drivers coming up the hill into town,” added cllr Moat.
“Also buses trying to get into the stop outside the Bank of Scotland.”
Community councillor Keir Hardie pointed out that he had seen local police issuing parking tickets.
FCC chairman John Guthrie added: “Parking outside the Falconer Museum (Tolbooth Street) is certainly an issue.
“Last week I witnessed a fight between a Moray Council bus driver and a car owner there over parking.”
Their FCC colleague Kenny Shand replied: “Coaches are meant to be able to use the space but police tell them to move on.”
Cllr Murdoch pointed out that there was little response to a previous consultation about parking on the high street.
“It still has the same parking restrictions as when it was part of the A96,” he said. “However, there is no congestion – the police are taking a reasonable and level-headed response.”
Cllr Alexander added that he had recently seen a woman parked on the zigzags outside The Washington newsagents issued with a £100 and three points by local officers.
Cllr Creswell wants to see local groups debate whether or not Leanchoil Hospital should continue to offer NHS services.
She said: “Particularly now that Varis Court is open, Leanchoil has become a thorny issue – it’s haemorrhaging money.”
Cllr Alexander added: “Leanchoil is a political decision that, up until now, we have run away from.”
FCC secretary told the meeting that her research had found that, in 1937, the “great and good” of Forres had proposed to buy the land but the Scottish Secretary of State had claimed it instead.
“It was later valued by Grampian Council,” she added. “It’s very precious.”