The spotlight is set to be shone on three historic Forres monuments after a planning application was submitted to The Moray Council to illuminate the buildings.
Permission is being sought to light up Nelson’s Tower, The Tolbooth and the Mercat Cross.
The application has been submitted by the Forres Heritage Trust who own the Tolbooth and look after Nelson’s Tower on behalf of the Council.
Leading on the project on behalf of the Forres Heritage Trust are trustees Bob James and Bill Budge.
Bob James explained: “We are very excited to be exploring this project which will see these three beautiful buildings being highlighted. These buildings are part of Forres’ rich history and lighting them up will make them a beacon and encourage interest and tourism for the buildings themselves but also create a feature for the people of Forres to enjoy.”
The Trust has appointed RYBKA, an international firm who specialise in lighting design and have an established history of delivering heritage building lighting schemes. They are also working with award-winning LDN Architects who have a recognised track history of being involved in projects which have strong heritage connections. Both companies are offering their services at substantially reduced rates recognising that Forres Heritage Trust is a registered charity.
Bob added: “With the support of RYBKA and LDN we have managed to come up with a sound proposal. Great emphasis has been placed on ensuring all equipment used is as energy efficient as possible and being of a standard to last the passage of time. There has also been great consideration taken for the environment. We have already had a meeting with Moray Council’s planning conservation officer at the sites to discuss this further.”
As well as submitting the planning application, the Trust is also now starting to look at how it will fund the project which is expected to cost £111k in total.
Bill Budge said that the Trust believes the investment is worthwhile.
He said: “FHT consider that the historical importance of Nelson’s Tower, the Tolbooth and Mercat Cross, fully justifies its decision to embark on a course to illuminate each building. Over 50 years ago the Town Council of Forres were very keen to floodlight Nelson’s Tower, but sadly this project did not go ahead. The lighting will be controlled by sophisticated technology allowing buildings to be illuminated in appropriate colour schemes to reflect such events as Armistice Day, St Andrews Day, McMillan Cancer, Christmas Day, to name but a few.”
He added: “Nelson’s Tower currently attracts visitors from the local community and many more from near and far. It is a prominent building and tree pruning on Cluny Hill, which is planned to take place in the Spring of 2022, will make the tower even more visible when approaching Forres from Elgin. The Trust feels that illuminating Nelson’s Tower, the Tolbooth and the Mercat Cross throughout the year will develop them into a beacon, advertising their presence to all and will encourage increased visitor numbers.”
Bill also added the Heritage Trust already has an outstanding track record when it comes to preserving and promoting the buildings and the heritage of the town.
“If it wasn’t for the Heritage Trust, the Tolbooth and Nelson’s Tower would not be open,” said Bill, “the Tower itself attracts visitors from all over the world and at Nelson’s Tower, the Trust is soon to launch a new tourist attraction which will help entice visitors to our great town.”
The planning application was submitted in February and the Trust expects to find out if the project can go ahead later this month.