Forres Mercat Cross to remain fenced-off until the autumn
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THE MONUMENT at the centre of Forres will remain fenced off until September at the earliest.
Moray Councillor George Alexander told the February meeting of Forres Community Council (FCC) that work on the damaged Mercat Cross is unlikely to be completed by the Autumn.
He said: "It's been moved to a September deadline but I would treat that date with caution and encourage everyone to be patient. The Council is seeking quotes via its procurement system.
"The Heras fencing has to stay up to stop people from getting too close in case more masonry falls on their head - many younger people in particular enjoy sitting under the cross in the summertime."
Last July, passer-by Kirsty Turnbull told the local authority that part of the Cross had broken off and was balanced precariously on part of the structure above the High Street.
The miniature version of Sir Walter Scott's Monument in Edinburgh, built by Thomas Mackenzie in1844, was fenced off two days later and an inspection of the damage carried out.
Cllr Alexander had previously sought an estimate for necessary repair work, prior to the latest mishap. At that time, contractors quoted around £12,000.
He is hopeful that money can be used from a £1.2 million fund delegated by the council to improve town centres in Moray.
A Moray Council spokesperson confirmed the Mercat Cross is a Common Good structure, adding: "Responsibility for authorising spend lies with local councillors, who have been provided with a report detailing estimated costs.
"As yet there’s been no instruction from councillors to proceed with any repair works."
Ms Turnbull is disappointed to hear that the necessary work will not be carried out until more than a year after she reported the damage.
She said: "The Cross could be more damaged now after the run of storms we’ve been having. It needs renovating and looked after. Plus the metal fencing is very unsightly.
"The damage is a health and safety issue and will cost the council more if they end up getting sued for bits falling on someone."
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