New battle for Wallace as takeover planned for monument
It commemorates one of Scotland’s national heroes and towers over the spot where he led the Scots to victory over English forces.
Now the National Wallace Monument is facing its own turbulent period as Stirling Council makes a move to take direct control of its property, which has been run by a charity for the
past 25 years.
Stirling District Tourism, which has managed the attraction since 1995, said it was “very surprised and shocked” about the move given the rise in visitors at the landmark and a number of tourism industry plaudits.
Chairwoman Zillah Jamieson said that all money raised by admissions – around £250,000 after costs – was currently invested directly back into the running of the monument.Stirling Council, which owns the property and is responsible for its maintenance, said it wants to showcase the monument as part of wider tourism and economic strategy.
Ms Jamieson said she was concerned that the monument would suffer if the council took control given that money raised would no longer be ring-fenced for the landmark.
She said: “ By concentrating resources and investment in the attraction, SDT has created a world-class visitor destination. 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.”
Ms Jamieson claimed the council had “failed to maintain the fabric of the monument” with around £2.5 million worth of repairs and conservation outstanding.
The monument, which may close over the winter once the current lease comes to an end, was built by public subscription amid wave of 19th century pro-Scottishness. The foundation stone was laid in 1861 with the landmark costing £18,000, or around £2.1m at today’s values.
A spokesman for Stirling Council said: “This is a carefully considered recommendation that has cross-party support and follows two years of significant attempts by the council to reach a new agreement with SDT over a new partnership approach that would have supported the wider tourism economy.
“The National Wallace Monument is an iconic Scottish landmark that the people of Stirling are rightly proud of. The council takes its responsibility to safeguard its future extremely seriously.”
The council said it would work with other attractions to encourage visitors to stay longer in the Stirling area.
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