Uk news Campaign launched in the battle to run Stirling's iconic Wallace Monument MetiNews.Com
MetiNews.Com - The Wallace Monument is at the centre of a tug-of-war after a community ownership campaign was launched this week in a bid to keep it out of Stirling Council’s hands.
Breaking News ! The Wallace Monument is at the centre of a tug-of-war after a community ownership campaign was launched this week in a bid to keep it out of Stirling Council’s hands. Although the award-winning tourist attraction is owned by the council, the charity set up to operate it - Stirling District Tourism - has run it since 1995. In March the council decided to take operation of the monument back into its direct control at the end of its current lease in November, but SDT this week launched its bid to instead bring it under community ownership. The council is holding a special meeting tomorrow (Thursday), which will see officers recommend plans on how the monument can adapt to the Covid-19 situation - and effectively bypass the already lengthy and apparently unfruitful negotiations with SDT. SDT Trustees say they have grave concerns, including that plans to launch a new education and events centre, along with urgent conservation of the monument’s structure will be at risk under the council’s management. They say their vision is to bring the attraction under community ownership to effectively ring fence resources to be reinvested in the monument, as was intended under the original charter, further ensuring Stirling taxpayers would not have to foot the bill for the monument’s ”long overdue restoration”. SDT chair Zillah Jamieson said: “ It is our strongly held view that diverting funds from the monument to other purposes is an approach which will potentially starve the attraction from the investment which is required to maintain its status, its appeal, and its ability to attract visitors. SDT chair Zillah Jamieson “The National Wallace Monument was funded by the ordinary man in the street from across Scotland and beyond – it should therefore, by right, be returned to the people through community ownership. “As trustees, we have an obligation to act in the best interest of the monument and we have grave concerns that the council have no clear path to achieve this. “We have always worked to position the monument as a centrepiece of Stirling’s tourism portfolio by working collaboratively.
.” In his report due before councillors tomorrow, the council’s senior economic development and communities manager Stuart Oliver said an officer working group had been unable to obtain the necessary level of information to provide a fully costed business plan for the operation of the monument from November 27 but were hopeful that, once a final option was agreed, this would be forthcoming from SDT.
The monument has national importance.
He added, however, that underwriting the cost of a new internal exhibition could cost the council around £500,000 alone and estimated costs to the council of around £200,000 from November 27 2020 through to April 2021. He said the working group was also prepared to consider a temporary closure over “an exceptionally quiet winter” until the tourism market resumes and Covid-19 impact has eased. If recommendations are approved tomorrow, the council says it will convene a special working group to support the takeover process, involving Historic Environment Scotland, VisitScotland and local organisations - and that SDT will be invited to take part. Whilst the council owns the monument, it does not have control over its other operational assets such as the visitor centre, cafe and car park, which are owned or controlled by SDT, which could create a further wrangle.
Council leader Scott Farmer
Council leader Councillor Scott Farmer said: “The monument is one of several jewels in Scotland’s crown. We firmly believe the best approach is to showcase these jewels together to maximise the benefits from each attraction individually and as a whole, working with local organisations and companies, as well as national organisations in heritage and tourism.” Click here for more news and sport from the Stirling area.
Source = MetiNews.Com