SAFETY barriers which are one of the last stages of a project to turn one of Forres’ most historic buildings into a tourist attraction have been installed.
The walkway around the clocktower in the Tolbooth situated in the centre of the High Street is now set to be opened to the public for the first time.
The barriers which were fabricated and installed by local company AJ Engineering were put in place last week.
The Tolbooth is owned by the Forres Heritage Trust and chairman George Alexander said he is delighted the clocktower project is almost complete.
He said: “We have managed to push this initiative on relatively quickly, but it has been a lot of hard work from the Trust and its trustees. Doing work to any building can be a minefield but when you add in the historical significance of the Tolbooth, it can complicate things. Thankfully, we have been able to progress this without too many hiccoughs and I am glad that it is nearing completion.
“The clock tower has never before been accessible to the public and we know there are many local citizens who are desperate to have the experience. I am very impressed by the fact the barriers are barely visible until you are quite close to the building.”
The whole development has included tearing out an old wooden staircase which gives access to the parapet and installing a new one, pointing and stonework and making safe the stonework and walkway around the clocktower and installing the safety barriers.
Now the Trust is seeking to upgrade the chiming mechanism of the clock.
The Trust received three grants to help progress the project. £11,301.60 was secured from The Beatrice Partnership Fund, £20,000 from the Berry Burn Community Fund and £9375 from the Moray Council via the Town Centre Regeneration Fund.
“We are very grateful for all the of the funding that we have received. The project would not have been possible without those injections of cash,” explained George, “now we look forward to opening the clocktower to the public which will happen next spring in time for the tourist season.”