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Action plan to shape Moffat’s future

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By Fiona Reid
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Action plan to shape Moffat’s future

THE future of Moffat and Beattock is being put into the hands of locals thanks to the creation of an action plan.

The plan, which is set to help the communities prosper and successfully invest over half a million pounds, will be completed by October.

Last year SSE Renewables pledged £540,000 compensation funding to Moffat in return for using the town as a HGV route for their Clyde Extension Windfarm.

Funding from the Scottish Government was also made available for the two communities to employ a professional to create a plan to utilise the cash.

And following interviews the groups have hired Nick Wright, of Nick Wright Planning, to lead the project and develop the official Moffat and Beattock Community Action Plan.

The plan will be a long term vision containing actions and proposals to improve Moffat and its neighbouring village.

Looking forward to working with the community, Nick said: “We were thrilled to be selected to do the work.

“This is a wonderful part of the world and the two communities are really active and energetic places, with lots of community activity.”

He added: “The Community Action Plan is a way of supporting all that good work and allowing the communities to tap into future funding.

“We also want to create opportunities for local people to think about how else Moffat and Beattock could be better places to live, to work and to visit.”

Nick and his team will visit the communities repeatedly over the next three months, attending the gala, the iconic Sheep Races, visiting schools, meeting local groups and businesses and learning how the areas tick.

He said: “When we finish in October, we will have produced an action plan that maps out a long term future for each place – what needs to happen now and in the future, how, when, and who should be responsible.

“Then it’s over to the community councils and everybody else in each community to make things happen – which is why it’s important that the action plan must be the communities’ plan, not our plan.”

He added: “The big question is: what will the plan include? The answer is – we genuinely don’t know yet! We are starting this work without any preconceived ideas. We need to hear what the people of Moffat and Beattock want.”

Nick has experience of creating action plans, having completed a plan for Haddington previously.

He said: “Haddington immediately set up a community development trust which is now working jointly with the local council to redesign their high street as “the best town square in Scotland” – a claim that Moffat might equally lay claim to.

“Local schoolchildren in Haddington, meanwhile, have been working on their own projects – taking over a local cafe for themed 50s diner nights, renovating a disused basketball court, and setting up a cinema club.

“And, just as importantly, the energy and conversations around the action plan rekindled people’s enthusiasm to make their town better, and got more people active in the local community. Let’s see if we can achieve the same in Moffat and Beattock.”

Nick is keen to get feedback from as many locals as possible and has set up a Facebook page: Facebook.com/ MoffatBeattock2016.

He can also be contacted by emailing: [email protected]. uk or calling: 07900334110.

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