Concerns raised over plans for refurbishment

Town and County Hall
Town and County Hall

Forfar Community Council has questioned whether Town and County Hall in Forfar should be extensively renovated at a time when Angus Council services are being slashed.

At their recent meeting, members discussed the plans and also questioned where the funding for the £90,000 scheme would come from.

A planning application for the refurishment of the 18th century listed building has been lodged and, if given the go-ahead, would include turning the former environmental office on the ground floor into a new members’ lounge, with the floor raised and the installation of power and data connections; full redecoration and refurbishment of the toilet facilities and a new kitchen area.

Improvements would also be carried out to the bridge linking the building to the Municipal Buildings, toilet facilities upgraded, a shower room installed and a new staircase to allow the second floor to be converted into office space.

Under a separate application, the Access Office in the Municipal Buildings would be moved to make way for new office accommodation for councillors and support staff.

But the proposals received a lukewarm response from community councillors and Alistair Cormie questioned the wisdom of carrying out the project amid recently publicised budget cuts.

He said: “They’re cutting back on music tuition and ending the taxi card scheme, yet spending money on this. To me it seems like someone has a pet project.”

Earlier in the meeting Councillor Glennis Middleton confirmed that the proposals for Town and County Hall were originally to have been financed by proceeds from the controversial sale of offices at 5-7 The Cross. Mrs Middleton added that she was unaware of any update in that situation.

But members speculated that the situation may have changed to prompt the new plans

Mr Cormie added: “Why get the internal architects to draw up the work on the hope of getting funding? I find that strange.

“Either they know what’s happening with 5-7 The Cross and they’re not saying or it’s within budget.”