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Hopes for Moray Growth Deal announcement in weeks

Rhona Gunn, right, seen here with HIE ’s Donna Chisholm and MSP Michael Matheson, said assessments were vital.
Rhona Gunn, right, seen here with HIE ’s Donna Chisholm and MSP Michael Matheson, said assessments were vital.

A funding announcement on ambitious plans to transform Moray could be made within weeks.

The Moray Growth Deal could pave the way for the creation of a cultural quarter in Elgin as well as the refurbishment of the town hall and a new hotel.

The final details are still being ironed out, but it is expected that an announcement on how much money has been awarded is expected to be made later this month or early June.

As part of Moray Council’s preparations, the authority will spend up to £40,000 on economy impact assessments on two of the 13 projects the £220million bid will help fund.

These include the cultural quarter in Elgin, which includes plans for a visitor centre focusing on food and drink at Grant Lodge, a refurbished town hall, a hotel, improvements to Cooper Park and a manufacturing and innovation centre.

Rhona Gunn, corporate director for economic development, planning and infrastructure at the council, said the assessments were essential to progress the deal.

She said: “Significant investment will be required by the council both to prepare projects and ultimately to provide supporting funding for those with the closest links to council services, but this will be with a view to leveraging in funding many times more than the sum initially invested.”

Council leader Graham Leadbitter hailed the amount of support garnered from local representatives and business leaders throughout the process.

He said: “There’s been a number of events taken place, including a showcase in the Scottish Parliament which was supported by a cross-party section of MSPs.

“We’ve had meetings where we given some guidance on some of the projects and a couple of weeks ago we were down in Westminster and met with number of ministers at an event which was very well-attended which included three cabintet ministers.

“This is having a big impact on how much money we can get and also putting Moray on the map a bit.

“We are hopefully heading towards some kind of announcement in June.”

Other proposals within the growth deal business plan include a gas line expansion which could be used for hydrogen transfer and two new campuses for Moray College.

Elgin City North councillor Paula Coy said she was delighted the proposals have taken a “massive step forward”.

 

 

 

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