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St Giles Centre changes, bus station refurbishments, town centre clean-up: Elgin’s 1,000 ideas for £20 million improvement fund

Residents have had their say on a 10-year strategy to drive improvements across Elgin.

Three-way split of St Giles Centre, Elgin cathedral and St Giles Church.
Elgin residents want investment in the town centre, community safety, transport and heritage. Images: DC Thomson

Town centre improvements, bus station concerns and new youth facilities are among the most popular ideas for a £20 million fund to improve Elgin.

More than 1,000 suggestions have been made for to develop a long-term plan for investment in Moray’s biggest towns.

The proposals were put forward during consultation events held across the community throughout April and May.

Three themes of safety and security, high streets, heritage and regeneration and transport and connectivity have been developed for the UK Government cash.

Now the ideas of where residents in Elgin want the £20 million fund spent on can be revealed for the first time.

Ideas for Elgin town centre improvements

Investment and reconfiguration of the St Giles Centre are among the many suggestions put forward for investment in Elgin town centre.

Residents are also worried about the future of St Giles Church, which is due to close, and the best ways to utilise empty shops while supporting cafe culture and the evening economy.

Front of St Giles Centre in Elgin.
Elgin residents want changes at the St Giles Centre. Image: DC Thomson

The full list of ideas include:

  • Support cafe culture and evening economy with seating, outdoor dining, canopies, lighting, cleaning, planting.
  • Host more events in the town centre.
  • New uses and investment in St Giles Centre.
  • Future of St Giles Church.
  • Attract more retailers and investors to the High Street.
  • Address empty shops with pop-up shops and public art installations.
  • Utilise empty properties above shops.
  • Tidy up town centre.
  • Capitalise on rich heritage and history of Elgin buildings and closes.
  • Grant scheme to support conversion, redevelopment of buildings.

Improved facilities for youth in Elgin

There have been calls to use the £20 million town fund to invest in new and improved facilities for youths in Elgin.

It comes after police have run special patrols and initiatives in recent months with Moray Council to address worries.

Two police officers walking on Elgin High Street away from camera.
Police are now stepping up patrols on Elgin High Street to monitor parking offences. File image: DC Thomson

Operations have focused on Cooper Park, the bus station, town centre, New Elgin and Lesmurdie areas.

Meanwhile, police have committed to developing a long-term sustainable strategy to address youth anti-social behaviour across Elgin and the rest of Moray.

Ideas for the £20 million town fund for Elgin include:

  • Covered teen hang outs with wifi in neighbourhoods.
  • Youth spaces in town centre and neighbourhoods.
  • Make Cooper Park a “destination park”.
  • Leisure and recreational activities with pump track and multi-use games area.
  • Improved safety at the bus station.
  • More CCTV.
  • More police on the beat with a visible presence.

Focus on transport solutions

Public transport problems have returned to the spotlight in recent weeks with Stagecoach withdrawing routes across the north.

Buses parked at Elgin bus station.
Elgin residents want more reliable public transport. Image: David Mackay/DC Thomson

Elgin residents have called for the £20 million fund to address connectivity issues across the town and beyond.

  • More frequent, affordable and reliable public transport.
  • Refurbish and relocate bus station.
  • More maintenance of active travel routes.

Have your say on Elgin’s £20 million fund

No decisions have been made yet on how the £20 million fund will be spent in Elgin.

The newly formed town board, which comprises representatives from the council and business community among others, will meet this month to make the first decisions.

It is expected spending commitments will be made for the next three years with a strategy set for the remainder of the 10-year fund.

Jenny Urquhart smiling at camera with fabric on wall behind.
Elgin town board chairwoman Jenny Urquhart. Image: Daisybeck Studios

Board chairwoman Jenny Urquhart, who is also chair of Johnstons of Elgin, said: “We’ve been so impressed and overwhelmed with the no of comments, ideas and suggestions that have been coming in from various parts of the community.

“It’s clear there is a huge amount of pride locally. The ideas we’ve received have all been very sensible and it has been very difficult to score them all.

“It’s been a very difficult process so we’re going back out to the community for more consultation to develop them a little bit more.”

Final consultation events will be held on Saturday, July 13 from 12noon to 2pm at the following venues:

  • A pizza and DJ event in the former M&Co shop on Elgin High Street
  • A pop-up event in Cooper Park near Elgin Library

What do you think the money should be spent on? Let us know in the comments.