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4,000 jobs, hotel, homes and new shops planned for £12million ‘Elgin gateway’

A "city deal" funding bid is being prepared by Moray Council to fund the Elgin Business Park development.
A "city deal" funding bid is being prepared by Moray Council to fund the Elgin Business Park development.

A hotel, housing and shops have been included in a £12million vision for the “gateway to Elgin”.

Moray Council has earmarked 76 acres of land at Barmuckity, to the east of the town, for a business park which could create up to 4,000 jobs.

Now the authority has published a first-look at the type of firms that could move onto the site, including a hotel, shops and 190 homes.

Storage firms, retail and distribution companies have also been included in the blueprint, which has been drawn up by Springfield Properties.

Drawings show a new roundabout could be constructed off the A96 Aberdeen to Inverness road to bring people into the complex, which will also have a wetland water feature and an avenue of trees.

The project has been on the drawing board for more than a decade – but the council was forced to abandon it because of a shortage of cash.

It was revived earlier this year, and now the local authority is preparing a “city deal” bid to land the funding to finally complete the project – and put Moray on par with Aberdeen and Inverness.

Last night John Cowe, chairman of Moray Economic Partnership (MEP), said he was hopeful that the Elgin Business Park would finally come to fruition.

He said: “I’m very pleased we may now see some positive movement with Barmuckity and the economic benefits it could bring to Moray.

“Council officers and the MEP are working very hard on a city deal but this may take some time. However, I believe there is a determination and a will to see Moray on a parallel with Aberdeen city and shire and Inverness and the Highlands with city deal status.”

The council’s planning committee will meet on Tuesday to approve the framework that will be used to drive the project forward.

Authority bosses have previously warned the lack of available space in Elgin for businesses to move into could hamper the town’s economy if the complex is not progressed.

Elgin City South councillor John Divers admitted he was “surprised” to see proposals for 190 new houses at Barmuckity but welcomed the progress being made.

He said: “There are already 2,500 houses on the cards for that side of the town so I’m interested to see how these ones will fit in. The businesses seem to be all things that we need, not just in Elgin but across Moray.

“It would be positive for the whole area. It’s been talked about for 10 years so it’s good to see it moving forward.

“I’m glad it’s being seen as a gateway, not just from the road but also from the railway, because the first impressions on towns are very often what people form their opinions on.”

Individual planning application would need to be submitted by any company wanting to open on the land.

Elgin City North councillor Patsy Gowans said: “Anything that drives the economy forward in Moray and provides jobs for young people is welcome.

“We need housing, across the age groups. A storage firm would be very successful, especially with families in the air force moving to the area that may rent initially. Another hotel in Elgin is also much-needed. When there are events on in Moray people often struggle to find somewhere to stay.”

In a report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting, planning officer Rowena MacDougall, said: “A wetland water feature will create a unique character and identity for the business park.

The area around the wetland will form a parkland setting.”

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