Published: 15/06/2012 09:33 - Updated: 15/06/2012 09:38

Two blueprints could become one

TWO documents set to become the economic blueprint for regenerating the Moray economy in the future could yet be merged into one clear vision.

The Moray Economic Strategy charts a way ahead for the region
The Moray Economic Strategy charts a way ahead for the region

The ‘Moray Economic Strategy’ and ‘Elgin: City for the Future’ draft documents have been subject to an extensive community consultation.

Councillors have viewed the 74-pages of reaction that has been produced following that process.

That information is set to be made available to the wider public in the next few weeks ahead of a community planning workshop to discuss the final make up of the documents.

However, discussion of the documents became bogged down in a row between administration councillors and opposition SNP over the administration’s recently published list of priorities.

Buckie member Gordon McDonald called for the documents to be published as one overarching strategy.

Richard Hartland, director of environmental services, said he saw no reason why the documents could not be brought together.

He told councillors it was important that the wider Moray community is fully engaged as the strategy is developed further.

"If we don’t take the community with us this will be a glossy document that gets put in a drawer and I don’t want to go there," he said.

He said the community planning workshop would decide how the strategy moves forward.

One of the key aims in both documents is the development of the life sciences sector in Moray and work has already started on the ground to deliver a £6 million Moray Life Science Centre on the Moray College UHI campus.

With the Forres Enterprise Park also becoming a life science zone, and 30 new jobs being created by lifescience firm AccuNostics, in the next 12 months, that is another tangible success.

The Elgin City plan is more detailed and includes a series of measures to enhance the appeal of Elgin.

It includes a £4 million plan to create a new civic square at Lossie Green which will include a new bus station.

The redevelopment of Grant Lodge as an archive and family history centre, and the creation of a Castle to Cathedral to Cashmere visitor trail, are among the measures to boost tourism.

A £2.5 million development of St Giles Church as a focal point of Elgin High Street is also proposed.

Expansion of the St Giles Centre is also in the document and earlier this year Robertson’s unveiled plans for a £7 million redevelopment plan.

Councillor Fiona Murdoch, committee chair, said Moray was working hard to diversify its economy.

"There are major opportunities here in Moray and we should all be optimistic," she added.

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