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Tolbooth clocktower safety barriers installed by Forres Heritage Trust to allow public 360 degree views above the town

By Garry McCartney

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A crane was used to lift the barriers into position.
A crane was used to lift the barriers into position.

SAFETY barriers at the top of one of the town's most historic buildings may help turn it into a major local tourist attraction.

The walkway around the Tolbooth clocktower is set to open to the public for the first time, in the latest stage of custodian Forres Heritage Trust's (FHT) renovation project.

The barriers, which were fabricated and installed by local company AJ Engineering, were put in place on Wednesday, October 5.

FHT chairman, George Alexander, is delighted the clocktower project is almost complete.

He said: “We have managed to push this initiative on relatively quickly, but it has been a lot of hard work from the trustees. Doing work to any building can be a minefield but when you add in the historical significance of the Tolbooth, it can complicate things.

"Thankfully, we have been able to progress this without too many hiccups and I am glad that it is nearing completion."

He added: “The clock tower has never before been accessible to the public but many local citizens are desperate to experience it.

"I am very impressed by the fact the barriers are barely visible until you are quite close to the building.”

Hoisting the barrier for installation. Pictures by Billy Laing.
Hoisting the barrier for installation. Pictures by Billy Laing.

The development included tearing out the old wooden staircase which gave access to the parapet and installing a new one, pointing and stonework, making the stonework and walkway around the clocktower safe, and installing the barriers.

FHT is now seeking to upgrade the clock's chiming mechanism.

FHT received three grants to help progress the project: £11,301.60 was secured from The Beatrice Partnership Fund; £20,000 from the Berry Burn Community Fund; and £9375 from Moray Council via the Town Centre Regeneration Fund.

“We are very grateful for all the of the funding that we have received" said George. "The project would not have been possible without those injections of cash.

"Now we look forward to opening the clocktower to the public next spring, in time for the tourist season.”

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