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Angus town centres spruce-up schemes slip as doubt cast on value for money

Montrose High Street.
Montrose High Street.

Council bosses are facing a race against time to spend £1 million on sprucing up Angus town centres, with doubts being cast on the value for money of some schemes.

While there has been a welcome for projects including a Monifieth youth café, Angus officials have admitted they are behind time with plans to splash the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Fund cash.

Last year, 26 projects across the seven Angus burghs were agreed as targets for a share of the £1.08m pot.

They included the creation of a rock and roll museum for Kirriemuir, tourism apps, public wifi and a slice of support for the Arbroath courthouse project, alongside more mundane measures such as cleaning town centre gutters.

Councillors have now been told it will be “very challenging” to spend exactly £1.08m and have agreed up to £27,000 (2.5%) can be added from council funds to see the scheme delivered within the set timeframe.

Montrose SNP councillor Bill Duff said: “I’m a bit concerned that the spend on this is negligible at the moment.

“I was involved in a walk round in Montrose and the work identified was what I’d call pretty minor – cleaning the pavement and a bit of painting.

“That would seem to me to be in the £15-20,000 category and I’m concerned the other things identified were in the doubtful category.”

Finance chief Ian Lorimer admitted: “We are probably a bit behind where we would want to be on spend at the minute so we may have to look at fall-back projects that might come to fruition to make sure the use this money was meant for is delivered.”

Monifieth Liberal Democrat Ben Lawrie said he was delighted by the potential creation of a youth café in Monifieth.

“Back in my school days we had a thriving youth club. Numbers began to dwindle after this was moved next to the High School before the facility was finally axed.

“There has been a desperate need for youth facilities in Monifieth ever since with local young people often telling me that they have no space to get together, so I very much welcome this much-needed youth café so that young people can have the safe space for socialising they deserve.”

The money split between the burghs is: Arbroath £312k, Brechin £94k, Carnoustie £148k, Forfar £184k, Kirriemuir £77k, Monifeith £107k and Montrose £156k.

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