Volunteers who raised funds to set up the Burghead harbour shelter have been hit with a tax bill by Moray Council running to hundreds of pounds.
Local MP Douglas Ross has written to the council seeking clarification after the organising committee paid £450 last year – despite a previous undertaking that the land would not be subject to charges.
The shelter serves as a memorial to all those lost at sea. It lies next to the Shetland Bus Memorial – a stone of remembrance to commemorate all those lost at sea who were being evacuated from Norway during the war.
Mr Ross has been told by organising committee members that historically, Burghead Town Council donated the land to the local community. It was taken over by the former Grampian Regional Council, which demolished the original shelter along with a nearby toilet block. The committee subsequently raised the funds to rebuild the shelter and say they were given an undertaking that the land would not be subject to tax.
Scottish Conservative MP for Moray Douglas Ross said:
“I have written to Moray Council seeking background information surrounding the decision to charge the committee hundreds of pounds in taxes.
“Volunteers raised funds and rebuilt the Burghead harbour shelter and it serves as a poignant memorial to all those lost at sea.
“My understanding is that the volunteers were told they would not be subject to any charges for the shelter which sits on a piece of land that was originally donated to the local community by the old Burghead Town Council.
“It seems unfair to expect the committee to now pay hundreds of pounds in taxes – particularly if an agreement was in place previously that no charges would be levied.
“I hope that the council can provide some clarity on this and look at removing these charges for the group.”