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Moray Council announces backing for Forres Community Football Trust's proposal for all-weather sports surface

By Garry McCartney

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Cllr Aaron McLean at Roysvale, the only football pitch currently available to rent in Forres.
Cllr Aaron McLean at Roysvale, the only football pitch currently available to rent in Forres.

A GROUP campaigning for a synthetic sports pitch in Forres has welcomed news that the project is to receive financial backing from the local authority.

Forres Community Football Trust (FCFT) – made up of various local sports figures – formed two years ago to push for an all-weather pitch for the only town in Moray without one.

And FCFT chairman Graeme Sutherland is delighted to hear that Moray Council has committed £1,130,000 of the next two years’ budgets to Moray’s pitches, including in Forres.

He said: “I believe £480k has been ring-fenced for 2021/22 – the majority of which will be used for existing pitches. There will be another £650k in 2022/23 which includes a commitment to build a new pitch in Forres in the capital plan.

“FCFT is very positive about the news – we welcome this support and investment in the town.”

Councillor Aaron McLean (Forres, SNP), himself a keen football fan, was thrilled to hear the ball is finally moving.

He said: “After agreement with other councillors including representatives of Labour and Independents, the SNP administration’s budget will include accelerated delivery of a 4G pitch for Forres with preparatory work expected to start in the next year. Partnership working has ensured that this project has broad backing.

“I want to make sure that FCFT and any other user groups are involved as much as possible.

“The next move is highlighting a site and getting a planning application in place.”

He added: “It has been a long-standing issue for Forres so I’m so happy to see it progressing. It will be widely used by Forres Academy and many other groups in the area.”

Mr Sutherland confirmed FCFT is grateful to the four elected local councillors and groups throughout the town for helping them “to get to this point”.

He said: “We will continue to work with the council to make this a reality, adding a physical asset that has been sadly lacking here for the last decade.

“We are keen to hear from other groups in the community. The pitch should be robust so it can be used all year round for various sports.”

FCFT will use £40,000 donated by the Earnhill Trust in January for preparatory work including a feasibility study and community engagement.

Mr Sutherland said: “We look forward to working with local people and groups, elected members and our local authority to secure a facility that is long overdue.”

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