Lossiemouth Community Development Trust unveils new five-year plan for Jewel of Moray

LOSSIEMOUTH works well together.

From left to right ; Fiona Birse (Development Officer), Alan MacDonald (Chair of Trust) and Donna Milne (Chair of Seafest). Photo: Daniel Forsyth

That’s the ongoing conclusion as the city’s development trust releases its new five-year plan.

The main feature of the new plan includes a community takeover and the redevelopment of Station Park.

Many other community groups, all of whom do great work in the city, are now working in partnership with the trust and others.

Other goals of the new five-year plan – which was presented last Saturday at an open event at Lossiemouth Town Hall – include:

  1. Extension of the Seafest festival.
  2. Completion of a new skatepark.
  3. Complete a bike trail from Lossie to Hopeman.
  4. Set up a hangar for men in suitable premises.
  5. Set up a steering group to create a community garden.
  6. Improve public toilets.

The construction of a new pedestrian bridge this summer to the east beach is a highlight of the first five-year plan.

Alison Read (left) and Alison Taylor who are part of the tourism subgroup.  Photo: Daniel Forsyth
Alison Read (left) and Alison Taylor who are part of the tourism subgroup. Photo: Daniel Forsyth

The new five-year plan follows extensive consultation with the people of Lossiemouth last year.

Alan MacDonald, Chairman of the Development Trust, said: “The key factor is that the groups are willing to work together and by working together we can do so much more and be more effective.

“We have all succeeded in our own way and have all managed to produce good results for the projects. If we can put all our resources together, we can get better and better.

The flagship project over the next five years will be a transfer of community assets from Station Park.

“It’s going to be a major project. An opportunity is there, especially with the new bridge which passes next to the esplanade. This whole area could be developed along Station Park and have something meaningful in Station Park.

MacDonald said he was impressed with the design and construction of the bridge so far.

“Estimates of the town’s loss were quite significant, around £1.5million in tourist cash. This will be a huge boost, especially for stores along the front.

A member of the community consults the plans at the town hall on Saturday.  Photo: Daniel Forsyth
A member of the community consults the plans at the town hall on Saturday. Photo: Daniel Forsyth

The Saturday exhibition and cafe was designed to allow the public to view the five-year plan proposals, with artwork produced by the Moray Council.

Donna Milne, vice president of the trust and president of Seafest, led the subcommittee that compiled the new plan.

She said: “For Seafest, we’re looking to let everyone know what’s going on. The bridge should be of great help to companies that have lost so much money.

Seafest was held in a reduced format last year, for the first time in two years, but will return in full from August 8-16 this year, hopefully without any covid restrictions.

Donna Milne, President of Seafest and Vice President of the Development Trust.  Photo: Daniel Forsyth
Donna Milne, President of Seafest and Vice President of the Development Trust. Photo: Daniel Forsyth

Ms Milne founded the development trust in 2014, the same year the first Seafest took place, with proceeds from Seafest funding the trust in the early years.

“A men’s shed is something that has been requested a lot. The Station Park is big and we have lots of ideas. We seek to take over Station Park and regenerate it.

“The community has come up with ideas for things like wading pools, which will take money and we’ll be looking to set up a temporary office there until it’s all done.”

Fiona Birse is the town’s development officer.

She said: “It’s very exciting. It’s all new and innovative and I hope we can pull it off.

“We are continuing with the projects from our previous five-year plan. The skate park is about to get planning permission.

“We need a building to be able to set up the men’s hangar. Station Park will be our big project. We already have a note of interest for a transfer of community assets. We will soon opt for a complete business plan.

With the opening of a new bridge in May, Ms Birse said it would give the city a boost.

“It shows that when the trust says they’re going to do something, they will do it. Seafest was a huge success, and those were two projects that came out of the trust.

“It is important that we work in partnership with the Lossiemouth Business Association and the community council to get things moving. Many Lossiemouth groups have joined the trust through memorandums of understanding, so the tourism group, which is new, joined the trust, the Millennium Association, the heritage group and the cycle path. We can all work together to make things happen.

Malcolm Campbell leads plans for a cycle route from Lossiemouth to Hopeman.  Photo: Daniel Forsyth
Malcolm Campbell leads plans for a cycle route from Lossiemouth to Hopeman. Photo: Daniel Forsyth

“There will always be different groups doing different things, but one of the things that brought us together was covid. The trust raised the funds and the community council and the 2-3 group, and all the church volunteers delivered covid packages.

Alison Read and Alison Taylor are both members of the tourism subgroup, which is part of the trade association, which has around 80 members.

Last year tourism and hospitality businesses came together, with support from Moray Speyside, to form a local tourism sub-group.

Ms Read said: ‘The first thing we did last year was get funding from the Scotland Loves Local fund and get the ‘Fine Day out’ tourist brochure.

Last year the group secured £16,000 from VisitScotland to create a Visit Lossiemouth campaign, which included Instagram and Facebook platforms, and the development of a new website for the town.

Travel writer Kay Gillespie has also visited the town.

The campaign will aim to target day and weekend visitors from across Scotland and the UK.

“We really want to increase attendance outside of the main summer season. We want to bring people here for a long weekend and get the most out of it.

Ms Taylor added: ‘We have a bed and breakfast in the town and we’ve had a lot of people coming from the central belt, Aberdeen and the north as well. With the arrival of the bridge this summer, we expect a huge influx.

The Lossiemouth Community Development Trust will hold its Annual General Meeting on Monday, March 7 at 7 p.m. in the Marine Park Pavilion.


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Norma P. Rex