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GALLERY: First look at Elgin cultural quarter designs

Artist impression of proposed revamped Elgin Town Hall.
Artist impression of proposed revamped Elgin Town Hall.

Elgin cultural quarter designs have been released by Moray Council showing for the first time how the plans could look.

It is hoped that the project to create a cultural space at the heart of Elgin will support economic growth and cultural expansion across the region as part of the Moray Growth Deal.

Work on the cultural facilities that are part of the £100 million funding package backed by the Scottish and UK Governments is currently programmed to start in 2024.

However council officials are keen to move the project to “shovel ready” so they can take advantage of any slippage in other Growth Deal projects or external funding to allow an earlier start.

Moray growth deal: Package accelerated to help region bounce back from Covid-19

 

Last month Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced an agreement had been struck in the spending review to reduce the period by five years to ensure the benefits of the deal were felt sooner.

Elgin Town Hall.

The plans include a refurbishment, extension and rebranding of the Elgin Town Hall to house a multi purpose theatre to create an improved cultural offering.

There is hope that the provision of a modern theatre and an increased number of events available will reduce the need for people to travel to Inverness or Aberdeen for the arts.

The revamped facility will have the ability to accommodate conferences and events for the business tourism market and provide scope for expansion of existing events, such as Spirit of Speyside Distilled.

Stuart Huyton, a member of Friends of Grant Lodge, outside Grant Lodge in Elgin.

The town’s Grant Lodge has been boarded up for 17 years after a blaze started in the building’s basement before reaching the upper floors.

In the Elgin cultural quarter designs, it is proposed the Cooper Park landmark will be transformed into a heritage attraction to signpost visitors to other visiting attractions and encourage people to stay longer.

Head of Economic Growth and Development Jim Grant explained:”The project will build upon the strength of the heritage of Moray with a focus on food, drink, and textiles, including the vast array of world class food and drink offerings originating in Moray, as well as the obvious output from “Malt Whisky country.”

Hopes £100million funding package for Moray will spearhead region’s coronavirus recovery

The delivery of a privately funded  “high quality” 60 to 100 bedroomed hotel in the town is being explored to address a much needed and long acknowledged market gap in the region’s tourism industry.

The region’s largest quality hotel currently has just 52 rooms and this has meant that the region has been unable to meet the ongoing demands from leisure visitors for high quality accommodation.

The council want to open up the Moray’s growing tourism industry to the leisure and business tourism markets not currently catered for.

Mr Grant added: “Each element will be linked together by enhanced public space and road traffic reconfiguration to ensure easy and safe walking and cycling connections to the town centre. ”

Council officials say all the proposals have been submitted to the Scottish and UK Governments for a review.

Next week, councillors will discuss the progress and the next steps for the cultural project.

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