Bridge celebrations play out in coastal community
CELEBRATIONS have been taking place in Lossiemouth after the Scottish Government announced funding for a new bridge.
Campaigners welcomed yesterday's 'phenomenal news' with astonishment and delight.
The structure, which links the coastal community to the popular East Beach, was closed in July amid safety concerns over its structure.
Rab Forbes, chairman of the Bridge Hub of Lossiemouth Community Development Trust (LCDT), which has been spearheading the local campaign for a replacement, said: "Five years ago, when we started this, we never thought we’d find ourselves in this situation, but I could not be more happy with today’s news.
"The Trust, the Community Council and the Business Association have worked jointly to reach this point. I’d like to thank the good people of Lossiemouth for their tremendous support."
Huw Williams, development trust officer, added: "We’ve done what we set out to do. Knowing that the Scottish Government have promised to fully fund this project is a fantastic result."
The commitment was made by Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, in a letter to Moray's SNP MSP Richard Lochhead.
Mr Lochhead praised locals for their community spirit and said he was thrilled, adding: "Having made the case to Scottish Ministers, I am personally delighted the Scottish Government has come to the rescue given the exceptional circumstances and the fact that access to the town’s famous pristine beach is a lifeline for the local community."
LCDT members thanked Mr Lochhead for his intervention and chairman Alan Macdonald praised the local community for its support, which has seen £80,000 raised through donations and grants.
Community Council chairman Mike Mullholland added his delight, stating: "We care about every member of our community and we look forward to seeing people enjoying the beach again."
Local councillor John Cowe described it as "phenomenal news", adding: "It has come completely out-of-the-blue and we are just so, so pleased that we can now move forward and have a new bridge."
Fellow Heldon and Laich member Amy Taylor also welcomed the announcement and said the loss of the bridge had been a major worry for local folk.
Conservative MP Douglas Ross praised the "impressive community-led campaign", while the convenor of Moray Council, Cllr Shona Morrison, said: "This will help keep the Jewel of Moray shining for a long-time to come."
Trust members will now meet with Mr Lochhead and members of Moray Council to agree an action plan, with updates posted on its website – www.lossietrust.org – and Facebook page.