South Scotland

Fresh push for Scotland-England border 'Star of Caledonia' landmark

Star of Caledonia Image copyright Balmond Studios

Plans for a £5m landmark sculpture near the Scotland-England border could still progress - nearly five years after missing out on key funding.

A fresh application for the Star of Caledonia will go before Dumfries and Galloway Council next week.

It suffered a major setback in 2014 when Creative Scotland decided not to offer £1m of support.

However, the team behind it now believes it could potentially benefit from the Borderlands Growth Deal.

Councillors first approved the project - designed by Cecil Balmond and Charles Jencks to celebrate the physicist James Clerk Maxwell - in early 2013.

The proposed design stands approximately 130ft (40m) high, which is twice as tall as the Angel of the North near Gateshead.

Project director Jan Hogarth said the latest planning application would hopefully give the scheme more time to secure the funding it needed to finally proceed.

'Cultural capital project'

"Back in 2014 we were in quite a good position then, unfortunately, that changed," she said.

"Now with people looking at the Borderlands and the South of Scotland Economic Partnership becoming a reality it feels like there is going to be development in the Gretna, Annan and Lockerbie area and the rest of the region as well."

She said the Star of Caledonia was the only "cultural capital project" being put forward for potential Borderlands investment although there was no guarantee of it being included.

Meanwhile, the project is being recommended for approval by councillors when it comes before their planning committee.

Ms Hogarth said she believed the sculpture still had the potential to deliver huge benefits to the area.

The latest impact report has suggested it would put about £2m into the local economy during the construction phase alone.

It is hoped it could attract about 100,000 visitors a year after that and drive additional tourism worth about £4m a year.

An estimated 10 million people travelling past the site - next to the A74(M) motorway - would see it annually.

"I see it as a real opportunity to put Dumfries and Galloway on the map," said Ms Hogarth.

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