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Angus food hub plan needs to be near top of Tay Cities Deal menu say local politicians

The famous Forfar bridie got caught up in controversy over thefood hub plan
The famous Forfar bridie got caught up in controversy over thefood hub plan

Angus has been urged to get started on a food showcase to add into the mix of economy-boosting Tay Cities Deal initiatives.

The suggestion of a culinary hub to highlight the region’s rich larder and promote world-famous produce was raised just before the long-awaited heads of terms signing ceremony last month.

It was not without controversy after an Angus councillor’s description of the showcase Forfar bridie as a “low quality processed meat product”.

A feasibility study into the multi-million pound food hub idea is now being developed and those behind the £350 million deal have been encouraged to press on with the project.

Signatories of the Tay Cities Deal in Perth

A £26 million Angus fund was agreed following a bidding process involving the rural authority and deal partners Dundee City and Perth and Kinross Councils.

Angus Council is likely to lodge an application for as much as £15 million from the fund for the food culture showcase, envisaging a unique destination that will welcome tens of thousands of people a year through its doors.

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It is understood capital allocations will be weighted by their level of innovation.

Forfar Conservative councillor Braden Davy will put a motion before Thursday’s full Angus Council in support of the hub plan, urging colleagues to “support and promote local food, ranging from the Arbroath smokie to the Forfar bridie.”

He said: “The development of an Angus food hub, as part of the Tay Cities Deal, could facilitate local support and is important in ensuring we build sales and exports.

“This motion believes all Angus councillors should be ambassadors for Angus produce in everything they do.”

Angus Conservative MP Kirstene Hair said: “Now is the time for both of Scotland’s governments to work together with Angus Council to create a longest-lasting benefit for the area.

“The money has been committed and Angus Council will be considering working towards this innovative centre which would showcase the fantastic food and drink products we have to offer throughout the county.

“The skills centre would support young people wishing to enter the industry as well as creating a joined-up digital economy among our producers.

“This hub will have many functions and provide a focal point within the area – supporting the producers in Angus as well as would be food and drink producers with their future careers.”

An Angus Council spokesman said: “We look forward to productive discussions with all our partners in relation to how the additional resource of £26.5 million for Angus can be put to best use.

“It undoubtedly lends itself to a host of exciting opportunities for projects that can support long term sustainable growth in the area, as well as future investment, development and employment.

“A food culture hub is one of those exciting opportunities and a feasibility study and funding streams are currently being explored.”

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