The Courier Reports – July 23rd 2019

Local history society’s future in the balance

MONIFIETH: Warning of ‘dire circumstances’ if collection and artefacts remain without a home

GRAEME STRACHAN

The president of Monifieth Local History Society has warned the group’s future is hanging in the balance. Margaret Copland spoke of the “dire circumstances” they find themselves in as she sent out a rallying call to the local community ahead of a crucial meeting on Friday. Almost seven months after making a successful community asset transfer lease application to Angus Council for the takeover of the burgh’s one-time police office, community group leaders backed out of the arrangement following legal advice. Monifieth Local History Society (MLHS) had raised thousands of pounds towards the £6,000 target for the flit to the former Angus Council-police office at 81 High Street but pulled the plug after saying the building was not fit to move into – a claim which has been challenged by the local authority. The Monifieth collection includes thousands of photographs and artefacts relating to local life – built up over more than a decade-and-a-half – which are currently sitting in storage at another location. Mrs Copland said Friday’s extraordinary general meeting in the Monifieth Community Cabin at 7pm will now discuss the fate of the collections and “the current dire circumstances”. She said: “Unfortunately, after taking legal advice, MLHS were unable to accept the lease contract conditions on offer. “Consequently they were asked to remove the stored community property from the building by June 30. “This was done and the heritage-related items moved into secure storage accommodation, all at a financial cost. “An extraordinary general meeting has been arranged to allow public discussion regarding the future of the House of Memories and the heritage community property in the custody of MLHS. “With no available accommodation the future is doubtful.” Mrs Copland said a big turnout on Friday is vital if they want the collection to be saved and to have a heritage centre in the town. “It is time for the community to stand up and be counted,” she said. “Monifieth does not have the facilities on offer to others throughout Angus, and this was the opportunity to bring them a place for social interaction between all ages and interests, on a small scale and with limitations. “Angus Council has not made this an easy journey to face the possible end of the road for the wishes of the people of Monifieth who are proud of their heritage.” The local authority said it was “minor cosmetic repairs” to the building which were required which would have been carried out once the transfer was complete. The council has supported the society since November by allowing rent-free occupation of the former Monifieth Access office as an interim measure while they submitted their formal offer. It said it offered MLHS a formal lease “at the same favourable rent” as in the proposed transfer but it decided not to take up the offer.

gstrachan@thecourierco.uk

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