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Still time for community to have input

By Staff Reporter

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The Tolbooth had a steady intake of visitors on Friday keen to have a say in the Leanchoil Hospital building's future.
The Tolbooth had a steady intake of visitors on Friday keen to have a say in the Leanchoil Hospital building's future.

MORE than 130 people had their say on a much-loved Forres building's future.

Forres Community Council (FCC) organised a public consultation event at the Tolbooth, encouraging attendees to express their views on the past, present and potential of the former Leanchoil Hospital to the team tasked with imagining its future.

FCC chairman Graham Hilditch has been taking a lead in the project, started when NHS Grampian announced last November that the Victorian-era building at the top of St Leonard's Road would no longer be used as one of its hospitals.

Mr Hilditch was pleased with the attendance but pointed out that many more people who were there did not register.

He said: "We were surprised with the level of interest given that consultations can be poorly attended.

"LDN architects will work through all of the feedback forms and draw up a list of options, but health and wellbeing uses and armed forces rehabilitation are emerging as the clear favourites."

FCC have used funding to commission a feasibilty study by LDN Architects of the building for future use.

Information boards and tables set out the purpose of evaluating facts and feelings around Leanchoil, financed by builder and philanthropist Lord Strathcona from the 1890s to serve the population of Forres and the surrounding area.

Mr Hilditch said: "A board which dealt with the public's experiences and feeling towards the building was filled up with many stories. There is no doubt that the public has great affinity for the building and see it as their own, and would prefer some local benefit."

Moray's MP Douglas Ross was pleased to see so many people attend taking an interest and looking at options for the building.

He said: "It was good to get along to this consultation to explore sustainable options for the site. The former hospital was built with money donated to the local community and means a lot to the people from the town, myself included. That is why it’s important that people have their say on what they would like to see on the site in future.

"It is a beautiful building in stunning grounds, so there is a lot of potential. Hopefully once the responses have been gathered, then the community council and stakeholders can plan what happens next at Leanchoil."

Have your say at https://forrescc.co.uk/leanchoil-hospital-finding-a-future/

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