Scottish Government steps in to fund new Lossie bridge
THE Scottish Government has agreed to fund the repair or replacement of a new East Beach footbridge in Lossiemouth.
Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, has announced the decision in a letter to the area's MSP Richard Lochhead.
In a letter dated September 2, Ms Hyslop wrote: "The Scottish Government recognises the importance of the footbridge to the people of the town given it provides the only safe access to the beautiful sands.
"We also recognise that the beach is a major draw for tourists and that this, in turn, supports significant employment as a result of visitors attracted to the town by the beach.
"The specific circumstances of the footbridge, both around ownership of the bridge and the critical impact its loss will have on tourism in the town, make this issue unique and unlike any other in Scotland.
"As a result, I am pleased to be able to commit the Scottish Government to funding the repair or replacement of the footbridge to protect safe access to the beach and the jobs and businesses who benefit from it."
The cabinet secretary said the Government will now work in partnership with the local community and council to plan the next steps.
The decision was described as "brilliant" by Mr Lochhead, who said it would be welcomed with delight and relief.
The SNP MSP said: "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.
"This is great news for local people, holidaymakers and, of course, local businesses who benefit significantly from the tourists drawn to the area by the beautiful beach.It has been a troubling time since the closure of the bridge in July and the uncertainty over future access to the beach has been a matter of great interest and discussion.It is without doubt a significant boost for the local economy and a relief for the surrounding employers and employees alike.
"I commend the efforts of the local community, with whom it has been a delight to work alongside to help secure this funding, and I’ve nothing but praise for the grit and determination in the face of adversity – this is so typical of the strong community spirit in Lossiemouth.
"I’m very grateful to colleagues in the Scottish Government for listening, understanding and most importantly, responding positively to Lossiemouth’s case, and I welcome the recognition Scottish Ministers has given to the key role of the bridge to the community.
"I look forward to the next steps being taken to get a safe bridge back into action now that funding has been secured and I am sure the community will share in my delight."