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Locals urged to have say on future of Invergordon Town Hall as survey deadline looms


By Hector MacKenzie

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Invergordon Town Hall on the High Street holds fond memories for many but has an uncertain future.
Invergordon Town Hall on the High Street holds fond memories for many but has an uncertain future.

PEOPLE keen to have their say on the future of an iconic Easter Ross town hall have until the end of this week to make their views known.

Possible uses of Invergordon Town Hall include a cafe, cinema and theatre space plus office and conference space.

The hall is part of the Invergordon common good fund administered by Highland Council. Funding was secured from the Scottish Land Fund to investigate possible new uses after the local authority gave Invergordon Development Trust the go-ahead to investigate.

Impact Hub has been commissioned by Invergordon Development Trust (IDC) to come up with a feasibility study and business plan. Interest in retaining it for community use was boosted by sell-out events in recent months.

Kate McKinlay, a business adviser with Impact Hub, said having the views of local people is essential to assess the level of support for community ownership.

She said: "'Having the views of local people is a really important part of the work Impact Hub Inverness is doing. It will help us assess the level of support for possible community ownership and the proposed uses of the building. We'll be taking the findings of the survey and then looking at whether there is a viable business case to be made."

Several potential uses of Invergordon Town Hall have been suggested. The next step is putting together a convincing business case.
Several potential uses of Invergordon Town Hall have been suggested. The next step is putting together a convincing business case.

Marie Clarke of IDC said the "iconic" building holds memories for many who would be "gutted" if it didn't have a community use. She said: "We need to know what the public wants. We've been gob-smacked by the amount of support we've had for events held there recently – people have made a real effort. There's been a new sense of community in Invergordon."

Cromarty Firth councillor Maxine Smith said: "The council has tried in the past to encourage new and sustainable uses for the town hall. It is hoped the community group will have more success. I am sure they will try their best though and wish them well in raising sufficient funds. It would be a shame to lose it."

While many of the town's older generation have treasured memories of the High Street building's past as a cinema and theatre, maintenance of building has languished.

The Scottish Land Fund development grant of just over £21,000 has allowed IDC to appoint a design team headed by Catriona Hill of CH Architecture and start-up supporter Impact Hub for business case development.

Invergordon Town Hal..
Invergordon Town Hal..

The town has been at the heart of a booming cruise liner trade and this year welcomed upwards of 180,000 visitors.

Two events staged at the town hall since news of its potential redevelopment emerged have been sell-outs, the most recent a comedy night.

The survey can be accessed online at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/QKLTV59.

Hard copy feedback forms are also available in 2 Dye 4, Tanstar and Hope.

The survey closes on October 11.


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