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Friday, 31 October 2014

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Star of Caledonia landmark would provide major economic boost

A 40 metre tall “star” on the Scottish border could bring in £16m, it has been claimed.

Caledonia star graphic
How the Star of Caledonia would look

The £4.8 million artwork proposed for the border near Gretna could bring in the equivalent of 70 new jobs for the region if it attracts tourists and regeneration, project director Dr Jan Hogarth said.

The artwork would be seen by around 10 million drivers and passengers a year and aims to form a “grand and dynamic” entrance to Scotland. Dumfries and Galloway Council is to decide next Tuesday whether to match the £1m funding already earmarked by Creative Scotland for the project. A model will go on show next week at the Scottish Parliament.

The Star of Caledonia – double the size of the Angel of the North – has been estimated to attract 70,000 visitors to the region a year.

Dr Hogarth said: “Great landmarks like the Angel of the North and the Star of Caledonia bring real benefits in terms of tourism, jobs and regeneration.

“The project will have a significant economic impact, creating the equivalent of 70 new permanent jobs for the region and attracting many more visitors.

“Dumfries and Galloway is doing a superb job of harnessing the power of the artistic and creative sectors to help revive our economy and create new opportunities. The Star of Caledonia will not just be a landmark for Scotland, but a powerful symbol of the vitality of this region as a centre of artistic excellence.”

Dr Hogarth said one of the main challenges of the region was that too many people “zipped straight through” without stopping on their journeys north or south.

The Star would be “a powerful magnet” and persuade them to stay in Gretna, Dumfries and the west coast of Scotland.

Joan McAlpine, SNP MSP for South Scotland, said it had the potential to light up the economy of southern Scotland.

“Independent analysis shows it could generate £16m for the local economy in the first year alone – that makes it a star of hope,” she said. “It’s an exciting futuristic symbol for Scotland at an exciting time for our nation’s future.”

Dumfriesshire Tory MP David Mundell, said the team behind the project had presented an excellent cases since the outset.

“It is a real boost to see the economic case backed up by the external assessment,” he said. “This report confirms the numerous positive benefits the project will bring.”

The Gretna Landmark Trust, which is behind the project, estimates that the Star will attract 70,000 visitors a year.

In a joint statement Isabell Tranter, of Gretna Green and Springfield community council, and Alex Thomson, of Gretna community council said: “There is overwhelming support for the Star from local small businesses.”

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