Moray councillors today voted in favour of awarding a village group a £150,000 grant towards the cost of upgrading their community hall.
Elected members gave unanimous support to the transfer of ownership of the Public Institute building to the Fochabers Village Association Ltd at no cost under community asset transfer arrangements.
However, the additional request for funding of £150,000 to carry out improvement works was approved only narrowly by 13 votes to 11.
Members opposed to the award of the grant feared it would set a precedent at a time of competing pressures on the council’s limited finances.
Councillors were reminded that the Institute building was in a poor state of repair and that around £800,000 would be required to bring it up to a satisfactory condition.
The village association indicated that without council funding it would be unable to raise the additional money required to complete the renovation work.
It also confirmed to the council that it could not accept ownership of the building without agreement to both a transfer at nil consideration and a £150,000 grant.
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 92,500 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.