Edzell residents to run Inglis Memorial Hall?

Angus Council met with users of Inglis Memorial Hall to discuss its future use and management.

The meeting, organised by the community planning officer of the council, saw about 40 people turn up.

Speaking on the “Save Edzell Library” Facebook page an ELAG member said: “It appears they (the council) wish to hand over their responsibility for the hall to the community and get the community to manage it.

“Many people at the meeting made the point that volunteers are already in full stretch and do huge amounts in Edzell.

“ELAG know that people here are more than capable of running the hall but it feels it is unfair of the council to expect busy volunteers to do even more and fear that by giving it to the community it would break the Deed of Gift and directly jeopardize the security and future of Inglis Memorial Hall (20, 30, 50 years down the line etc).”

A spokesperson from the community who attended the meeting said: “From what was said it seems that the council hopes that the village will form a committee to take total responsibility for the Inglis Memorial Hall.

“A number of people spoke up, pointing out that volunteers run much of the village already and are really at full stretch and therefore are unlikely to be able to undertake such a huge commitment.

“It was also pointed out that according to the original Deed of Gift, the council is legally obliged to manage Inglis Memorial Hall for the benefit of the community in perpetuity.

“A suggestion was made from the floor that perhaps volunteers could run the library.

“Contrary to what ELAG had been told previously by the council, the council officer at the meeting said this could be possible.

“Again the council representative stressed that there is no question of the local authority re-opening the library, although the concept of a library/museum is an idea that could be pursued.

“ELAG pointed out that we have many ideas for capitalising on this.

“From the floor the point was made strongly that the council has failed to publicise Inglis Memorial Hall, despite having said that it wishes to increase its use. Again it was stated that the community has offered to help in many ways.

“Someone else from the floor pointed out that Inglis Memorial Hall usage figures compare very favourably to Brechin City Hall and the Reid Hall and, in fact, for some periods of the day Inglis Memorial Hall actually has more bookings than Forfar and Brechin.”

John Dally, who originates from Edzell said: “If the council wishes to return the Inglis Hall to the community for them to manage I would strongly advise that legal advice is taken, focusing on the original title deed and management structure and revenue funding of the Inglis Hall when it was first built, how it transferred to Angus Council and what provisos were put in place to secure its future.

“Were the community to accept responsibility for the future management of the Inglis Hall I feel it should be with legally binding guarantees from Angus Council of revenue funding for revenue costs such as energy, insurance and maintenance.”

Councillor Marie Evans said: “I think that the ownership and maintenance of the Inglis Memorial Hall as well as the ownership of the Brechin City Hall should remain with the council.

“I think it is really unfair that we should expect that volunteer groups should take over the running building.

“Volunteer groups in Edzell already do so much for the village already.

“Within Brechin and Edzell it is the same people who volunteer for all the different groups within the towns and it is just giving them an added responsibility which should remain with the council.

“A lot of the times it seems that the council almost tests Brechin and Edzell out for these kinds of things.”