A £50,000 investment to create a new tourist attraction at a Moray landmark is well under way with the building undergoing significant works.
Scaffolding has been erected around the Forres Tolbooth in what marks Phase 2 of a project to open up the walkway around the clocktower to establish a new visitor attraction for the region.
The project is being funded by the Forres Heritage Trust who own the Tolbooth with other monies being secured from the Berry Burn Community Fund which allocated £20,000 and the Town centre Regeneration Fund which gave £9375.
The latest works involve fixing the leadworks and stonework pointing of the wall around the clocktower.
George Alexander, chairman of the Trust which also looks after Nelson’s Tower said these works are the most significant to take place in 25 years.
“The Trust is working tirelessly to ensure the future of the Tolbooth and we have done extensive work internally to restore the court room and the old police office and cells amongst other works.
“However, this is the first time since the mid-1990s that any significant work has been carried out to the external part of the building. The walkway around the four faces of the clock is lined with lead supported by a wooden structure. Water has seeped in and the wood has rotted over time which means the lead is sinking. This will need to be replaced. We also need to clean out the joints between the stone blocks on the turret itself and put new mortar in place.”
Mr Alexander added: “When the scaffolding was erected we discovered there was more work required than we had first thought, further up the tower and the Trust has taken the decision to just plough on with that work. We want to ensure that this building which has such huge historical significance for the town and indeed the region is looked after and therefore is here for many more years to come.”
AJ Engineering has already fabricated and installed a new internal steel stairway which will give access to the walkway and Mr Alexander hopes that the whole project will be complete for the main tourist season in 2021.
“The end result of all of this work and investment is that we create a landmark that drives footfall to the town and Moray. We already have a fabulous offering in Forres what with Grant Park, Cluny Hill and Nelson’s Tower, a beautiful High Street and other attractions right on our doorstep. This latest project is only going to add to that.”