People in a Speyside village were celebrating last night after councillors backed their plans to breathe new life into a former railway station.
Aberlour Community Association is now responsible for the building after the local authority’s policy and resources committee approved its application for a community asset transfer.
The group wants to develop and improve the site to boost the village’s tourist trade.
In summer last year the community association took over the visitor centre at the station and welcomed more than 4,000 holidaymakers from 32 countries.
The successful trial run convinced members they could operate the station independently.
Aberlour Community Association’s Jim Hart said: “Now we own the station there are various improvements we’re looking to make.
“Last year we had a trial and it went really well but we want to build on that now and promote Speyside even more.
“We will be opening for visitors earlier this year, and depending on demand we will keep the centre open until September or October.
“We’re absolutely delighted with Moray Council’s decision.”
Fellow member Hugh Fraser added: “We have 25 or so volunteers and they’re all excited to start work on it.”
The association also plans to hold educational events for Aberlour’s youngsters and open days for businesses to get involved.
At the end of April the visitor centre will be used as a venue during the Spirit of Speyside whisky festival.
The case the community association made for taking over the station building was praised at yesterday’s policy and resources committee meeting in Elgin.
Heldon and Laich councillor John Cowe said: “The business case demonstrated the strong support the community association has locally.
“The group has the skill and experience to make a success of the project long term.”
Speyside and Glenlivet councillor Pearl Paul added: “I think the Aberlour Community Association thoroughly deserves our support.”
Fochabers and Lhanbryde councillor Douglas Ross recommended that the business report submitted by Aberlour Community Association be used to guide other groups applying for a community asset transfer.
He said: “This report is a perfect example of what we are looking for in a community asset transfer request.”
The council also approved a £3,000 annual grant to cover the cost of maintaining the public toilets at the station.