Conservation and heritage could be at the heart of regeneration in Forres

Conservation and heritage could be at the heart of regeneration in Forres

Local business, community and council have come together in a partnership project looking at the Forres Conservation area, exploring ways to develop, promote and conserve the historic character.

To date, £86,000 has been secured by Moray Council to develop the scheme over 12 months. The development phase is part funded with £33,000 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to the National Lottery Players; £33,000 from Historic Environment Scotland’s Heritage and Place Programme; and £20,000 by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

A Partnership Management Group has been formed with representatives from Forres Heritage Trust, Forres Area Forum, Forres in Bloom, Forres Area Community Trust (FACT), Leanchoil Trust, Forres Community Council, Findhorn Bay Arts, Friends of the Falconer Museum, HIE, Visit Moray Speyside, heritage and business, along with Moray Council elected members. The group will meet regularly to steer the project and provide community feedback.

During the development phase, which will run until September 2024, there will be events, community engagement and workshops to help design the proposal for a five-year scheme.

Helen Avenell in association with LDN Architects and M:ADE (Moray Arts Development Engagement) has been appointed to carry out a traditional skills audit and training plan, community heritage engagement and activity plan, evaluation strategy and to update the Forres Conservation Area documents prepared by Andrew Wright and associates in 2013.

If applications for the scheme are successful, it will result in a £3.3 million five-year investment programme that will see key building repairs, public realm improvements, shop front scheme, apprenticeships and training, greening of the Conservation Area and heritage interpretation.

Overall, the aim is to use the historic environment as the catalyst to increase sense of place and understanding of the local area, bringing social and economic benefits to Forres. The idea of creating a Heritage Quarter and establishing a new operating model for the Falconer Museum will also be explored. Work is currently being carried out to provide an overview of the collection to support fund raising for a business plan and feasibility study.

A new online blog will publish scheme updates and provide engagement session dates.

Leader of Moray Council, Councillor Kathleen Robertson, said: “We’re delighted that the Forres Conservation and Heritage scheme is now underway and we can get started with reinvigorating the Forres Area. We look forward to working in partnership with other community groups, business owners and members of the public to make Forres an even better place to stay, work and visit.”

Chair of the Forres Conservation and Heritage Scheme Partnership Management Group, George Alexander, added: “This is a great opportunity for Forres to benefit from significant investment in the town. We’ll be doing a lot of development work over the next few months and we encourage everyone to get involved so that we’ve got the best chance of success.”

Further information on the scheme, including details on all the grants and programmes that have helped with funding the project can be found online.

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