A GROUP which has been fighting to restore an historic Elgin building have not given up hope that new life will be breathed into it despite funding concerns.
Friends of Grant Lodge will lobby Moray councillors who look set to withdraw £1.3 million of funding towards a restoration project.
And the group will also canvass independent legal advice on the obligation Moray Council has to maintain the building under the deed of gift which saw it gifted to the local community over 100 years ago.
Members of the council’s economic development and infrastructure committee earlier this month favoured cutting the £1.3 million it had earmarked as part of a £4.2 million restoration of the building. That would have seen it become a focal point of a wider Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere heritage project.
A further report is being prepared for councillors on the way forward and that is likely to go before members in the next few months.
Friend Chair Caroline Webster said: “It is not a done deal; the funding is not yet completely cut. The best way forward is to lobby councillors.”
She said councillors had to be aware of the legal implications if funding is pulled from the project and the building is not maintained.
It will cost at least £1 million to bring Grant Lodge back up to a standard which will make it capable of being used again.
Built in the late 18th century, Grant Lodge was bought by Sir George Cooper in the late 19th century and presented to Elgin for use as a library in 1903. It was used as the town’s library until November 1996, and between then and July 2003 it served as the local heritage centre. It was gutted by fire in 2003 and has since lain empty.
Sarah Nicholson, friends group secretary, said until last month everybody was pleased that a scheme was in place to restore the building and bring it back into use.
John Blackhall, also a friends group member, accused Moray Council of doing nothing while Grant Lodge deteriorates.
He said: “For years the council has been happy to sit back and do nothing while the building falls into a terrible state of disrepair.”
Read the full story in The Northern Scot.