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Moray Council has agreed to reduce Transition Town Forres’ annual rent from £13,200 to £4500 for three years

By Garry McCartney

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The community Osprey bus service is now based at Transition Town Forres.
The community Osprey bus service is now based at Transition Town Forres.

COMMON Good land in Forres will continue to be put to good use by its custodians following an agreement with Moray Council.

The local authority had announced in September that it would no longer cover Transition Town Forres’ (TTF) annual rent of £13,200 - ending the environmental charity’s community activities on the Bogton Road site it took over 15 years ago.

However, following extensive negotiations culminating in a private meeting of Moray Council’s Corporate Committee in April, TTF will again pay a reduced rent of £4500 for another three years, with one of those years back-dated.

TTF board member Rosie Tait said: “We are delighted to have a more affordable rent which now enables the board to focus their energies on our charitable aims.

“We are conscious that TTF has security in the short-term but that we will have to go through the rent negotiation process again in two years' time.”

One of the growing gardens on the site.
One of the growing gardens on the site.

TTF has run social and environmental projects at Bogton since 2009.

The group applied for a Community Asset Transfer (CAT) of the site three years ago; Highlands and Islands Enterprise’s Social Value Impact Study found the total value of the activities TTF offered was £109,253.

However, the CAT was declined after it was deemed there was insufficient evidence of community support for the proposal.

TTF continues to provide a venue space for local classes and workshops such as drumming, belly dancing and eco theatre. Community gardens continue to flourish with all plots currently filled.

A ‘Green Shoots’ growing after school club for five to 13-year-olds runs from 4-5.30pm on Wednesday afternoons during the school term.

And youth club ‘The Gaff’ is returning to TTF’s Sustainable Living Centre Centre for the summer months.

Looking onto Transition Town Forres from Bogton Road.
Looking onto Transition Town Forres from Bogton Road.

“The transition network is about creating resilient communities through collaboration,” said Rosie, “localising food systems and resources and generally working together.

“We have been awarded funding via the Climate Action Fund to purchase a polytunnel for community growing.

“We have joined forces with the Osprey Bus, who have installed an electric charging point and are parking their new electric bus at TTF.

“We are also working with the Big Blue Bus and food pantry at Forres Area Community Trust to supply surplus fruit and veg from our community gardens to those who need it.

“And we hope that now our energy is not so focused on covering rent costs we can extend our activities!”

Composting at TTF’s Community Gardens.
Composting at TTF’s Community Gardens.

TTF’s AGM is set for Sunday, July 21 from 5-7pm at the Sustainable Living Centre. The group is looking for five new board members.

Rosie said: “There is an opportunity for new blood to influence TTF’s direction and help it realise its charitable aims.

“Being a board member provides the opportunity to shape and direct grass roots projects which make a real difference to the current living conditions of our local population through wellbeing projects, local food growing and youth activities as well as events to support families.

“It’s also an opportunity to shape our local future through environmental education and reinvention of local economies.”

For more information visit https://ttforres.scot/

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