Heritage society to take over museum in £1 deal to “inspire” local community

A north-east heritage society could soon be handed the keys to a former council building in a move which they hope will “inspire pride” in the local community.

The Turriff and District Heritage Society has provided museum services in and around the market town for nearly four decades.

Now the group has lodged plans to take over the municipal building in Turriff – often called the town house – in a community asset transfer.

The move has been backed by Aberdeenshire Council officers who say that the High Street building is valued at around £80,000. They concluded that the benefit to the local community of having a new museum could be worth as much as £100,000 over 25 years.

Members of the Formartine area committee will meet on Tuesday morning to discuss the proposals and are expected to unanimously back the scheme.

In her letter to the council, heritage society chairwoman Judith Mackie said: “We are committed to providing heritage and museum services to the local community and feel that we will be able not just to preserve this landmark building, but to make it both a destination for tourists and a place to inspire community pride within the town.”

She added that it is group’s intention to “preserve the past for the future”, as they have tried to do over the last 40 years.

In a report to the area committee, Aberdeenshire’s director of business services Ritchie Johnson urged councillors to back the deal to transfer the municipal building to the society for a nominal fee of £1.

He added: “Officers have evaluated that this is reasonable.”

As part of the museum proposals the heritage society plans to create a Doric centre to celebrate and promote the local dialect.

The heritage centre will be open four days each week from May until November. Outside opening times the site will be available for community use. The group intends to run the museum as free-for-use and raise funds through grant applications.