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Angel artwork planned for Elgin’s Cooper Park dropped from regeneration plans after consultation finds no support for it

Cooper Park in Elgin. Picture by Jason Hedges
Cooper Park in Elgin. Picture by Jason Hedges

A sculpture of an angel emerging from Cooper Park pond in Elgin will be dropped from a multi-million pound town centre regeneration scheme.

The site of a luxury hotel at Lossie Green will also be reconsidered as part of the Elgin city centre masterplan.

Instead, other locations are under review for the hotel.

An art project running through the town centre will be progressed and Elgin Museum will be included in the plan, which aims to increase economic growth through enhanced business, entertainment and cultural experiences.

No support for the pond angel

Changes to the masterplan follow a public consultation held earlier this year that prompted 114 online responses and 468 comments from an information day held in August.

Members of Moray Council planning and regulatory services committee will be asked to agree the final Elgin city centre masterplan at a meeting on November 16.

The proposed angel artwork was not a hit.

Councillors will also be asked to approve a timetable for the delivery of a 46 point action plan and for a steering group to be established to oversee it.

While the consultation showed no support for the pond angel or the location for the hotel, there was enthusiasm for the regeneration  of South Street, Thunderton Place and Northport with wider pavements, living green walls and artwork as well as better pedestrian and cycle links between Cooper Park and the town centre.

There was also support for the refurbishment of Elgin Town Hall and Grant Lodge with the latter seen as a good site for a hotel.

Developing the night-time economy

Those responding were also keen to have unused buildings in the town centre brought back into use and the development of the night-time economy.

In his report strategic planning and development manager Gary Templeton said: “As a result of the consultation a number of property owners have come forward regarding proposals around the centre and these are being considered and supported by council officers.

“There has been considerable interest in developing the evening economy in the centre.

Elgin High Street.

“A number of key changes have been to the masterplan as a result of the consultation.

“The hotel site at Lossie Green has been reworded and amended to allow a number of possible options to be explored.

“A number of potential emerging opportunities have been highlighted during the consultation, which are commercially sensitive at this stage.”

What other projects are in the pipeline?

The hotel along with Grant Lodge, improvements at Cooper Park and Elgin Town Hall form part of the cultural quarter to be funded through the £100 million Moray Growth Deal, with money for that coming from the Scottish Government, UK Government, Moray Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, the University of the Highlands and Islands and others.

Feasibility studies on new travel bridges between Cooper Park and Northport crossing the A96 and another over the Aberdeen to Inverness railway line as well as transport assessments in the cultural quarter will get underway this month as part of the masterplan.

Proposals also include turning the former Elgin Club building into a boutique hotel, creating a sustainable travel hub at Elgin bus station and providing electric vehicle charging point in town centre car parks by 2030.

There are also plans to employ a public art project manager, introduce an artist in residence programme and create a gallery in the town centre.

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