On Wednesday 31st of August, DDCA organised a public meeting to discuss the options for the clocktower and our next steps. 19 participants attended and it was great to hear everyone’s thoughts and ideas.
DDCA took ownership of the clocktower from Moray Council in 2020. The priorities are: 1) keep the clock going 2) do something with the inside of the building 3) do something with the outside around the building. During the past year and a half, we have had a fabric condition survey carried out by a heritage architect. The building is in need of some essential repairs, which a quantity surveyor provided a budget estimate for. With this information, we have applied for a couple of grants to carry out the repairs, but the applications have unfortunately been unsuccessful. The feedback on the applications suggests that we need to do more to demonstrate how the building will be financially sustainable in the long run. We have taken on the feedback and with the support from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, we currently have a consultancy to help us with the business plan. They have engaged with both Moray Council and the community. Last night they presented a few different options of what the building could be used for in the future. If you couldn’t attend the meeting last night, the presentation can be found here: Dufftown Clock Tower Community Meeting Presentation.
A key part dictating the options available is building regulations. The clocktower is a listed building and its tall height makes it difficult to meet certain fire regulations. In light of this, the preferred option presented was to use the ground floor as a public, multi-use space for the community and the upper floors as holiday accommodation. We had a great discussion about this option, with lots of useful suggestions and considerations. If you have any thoughts, please get in touch either with ourselves or Delfinity consultancy. The feedback will be anonymous and fed into the business plan.
The next steps from here are to start up a Clocktower working group. Anyone is welcome to join. We will meet monthly to discuss new information and funding applications. I will also send out monthly updates. Let me know if you want to receive these. If you want to support the project with a written statement, I have created a Statement of support. We will use these in any future funding applications. The clocktower is such an exciting opportunity to do something great for the town and community. I’m really looking forward to the next few months, building on the momentum we started at the public meeting earlier this week. Again, thanks to everyone who came and shared their views and support.