A Buckie hall threatened with closure three years ago is now under new ownership.
Councillors have given the go-ahead for the Fishermen’s Hall to be taken over by a community trust.
The community asset transfer (CAT) for the hall to go to the Fishermen’s Hall Trust was agreed at a meeting of Moray Council corporate services committee today (Tuesday 30 November).
The hall came under threat in 2018 when a decision was taken for the council to off load seven halls it was responsible for as part of cost cutting measures.
While the aim was to encourage community organisations to take on the buildings, if none came forward the halls would close.
The trust submitted a CAT request in March last year, but a decision on the move was put on hold because of restrictions connected with the Covid pandemic.
Conservative councillor for Buckie Tim Eagle said: “These things are not easy and this group has been incredible. It’s really great to see.
“If we all get behind this group it will be a great success.”
SNP councillor for Buckie Sonya Warren supported the move but raised some reservations, including a poor response to a consultation on the CAT that only received five comments.
She said: “I very much want to see this getting through. I just want to know that we as a council are doing the best we can for the group.
“I don’t want this to go through and then for the group to struggle.”
Buckie trust will receive support
Mrs Warren added she would liked to have seen more information put forward on the trust’s plans for maintaining the building, complying with Covid safety regulations and increasing membership.
Asset manager coordinator Andrew Gray assured the committee the trust’s governance and financial management arrangements were considered to be strong and sustainable, and that the council’s community support unit would continue to work with the group following the transfer.
He added while there were not many responses to the consultation the process had been conducted properly.
As well as approving the CAT members authorised legal services to apply to the sheriff court for consent to transfer the property to the trust.
The move will save the council £47,000 a year.