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Forres Tolbooth public walkway project is taking shape


By Garry McCartney

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George Alexander on the clocktower at Forres Tolbooth.
George Alexander on the clocktower at Forres Tolbooth.

A PROJECT to develop the tower in one of the town’s most historic buildings into a new tourist attraction is gathering pace.

Listed building consent, planning permission and a building warrant to install safety barriers on a walkway around the clocktower at the Tolbooth have been secured and owner Forres Heritage Trust (FHT) has also received further funding.

The new steps to the Tolbooth's turret were made and installed by local firm, AJ Engineering.
The new steps to the Tolbooth's turret were made and installed by local firm, AJ Engineering.

FHT chairman George Alexander confirmed new access stairs to the walkway have already been put in place.

He said: "We are delighted that we are now in the last phase of this project. Opening the walkway around the clocktower will give visitors a unique insight into the building and wonderful views over our historic town.

"We are extremely grateful to have received funding from The Beatrice Partnership Fund and delighted that Moray Council has now issued the building warrant which will allow us to get the safety barriers installed."

George Alexander on the Tolbooth walkway which is to have safety barriers installed so that visitors can enjoy the 360 degree views of the area it offers.
George Alexander on the Tolbooth walkway which is to have safety barriers installed so that visitors can enjoy the 360 degree views of the area it offers.

It is hoped the works will be complete by next month with a view to opening the attraction to the public shortly after.

The latest funding of £11,301.60 from The Beatrice Partnership Fund will be used to restore the Tolbooth clock and install the safety barriers.

Previously, FHT which also looks after Nelson’s Tower, received £20,000 in funding from the Berry Burn Community Fund towards the project. That money has been used to make repairs around the walkway and to carry out extensive pointing of the stonework around the clock tower.

The project also received £9375 from the Town Centre Regeneration Funding, allocated for alterations to the outside gallery around the clock tower.

George added: "Clearly the Tolbooth is historic so we have to ensure that any works we carry out are done so in keeping with the building."

The old wooden stairs removed by volunteers revealed signatures which it is believed are of workmen who worked on the tower in the early 20th century.

George said: "We were able to remove the stairs quite easily and in doing so we revealed the signatures. There is always some little gem that you come across when carrying out renovations in a building with such historical significance."

The project has already received £9375 from the Town Centre Regeneration Funding which was allocated for ‘alterations to the outside gallery around the clock tower.’



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