Stirling Council has voted in favour of taking responsibility for the National Wallace Monument commencing on November 27th this year at a special meeting of the council.
Earlier this year, Councillors agreed not to renew the 25 year lease with Stirling District Tourism when it came to an end in November this year, after extensive discussions with Stirling District Tourism which failed to provide a positive outcome,
Commenting on the decision Council Leader Scott Farmer said:
“The decision taken by the Council shows we are resolute in our commitment to safeguarding this world-famous attraction and its staff in these challenging times.
The National Wallace Monument already stands proudly over Stirling and now we can move forward with our bold plans to make it a beacon for the wider tourism offering in the area.”
Farmer added ,”It is regrettable that SDT has not taken a more constructive approach to negotiations but it’s now time to move on and collaborate with key organisations and local communities to grow the profile of this iconic attraction across the globe.
Our door will always remain open to SDT, however, and I hope they will engage in a positive partnership with Council Officers to ensure a smooth transition so this jewel in Scotland’s crown can prosper for years to come”.
Depute Leader of Stirling Council, Cllr Danny Gibson said: “As elected representatives of Stirling Council, it’s our duty to secure the best outcome for residents, communities and the Monument during these negotiations.
“After significant attempts by the Council to reach a new agreement with SDT over a new partnership approach that represented best value proved in vain, it became clear a new approach was required.
“Over the past 150 years, Stirling Council and its predecessors have always stepped up to protect and conserve this publicly owned and treasured local asset, and the Council will continue to do so once it assumes management of the Monument as well.”
Zillah Jamieson , chair of Stirling District Tourism 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.
“Neither is it in the spirit of the agreement under which the Monument was originally placed in the care of the Council, and the clearly expressed wish that it should be managed and operated with the sole purpose of commemorating William Wallace.”
Jamieson added that “Stirling Council have heralded the move to bring the Monument in house as ‘securing the future’, but their actions – in considering closure of the Monument and spreading the revenue across a number of other project – is at odds with this stated intention.
“As trustees, we have an obligation as overseen by the Charity Regulator 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 centre-piece of Stirling’s tourism portfolio by working collaboratively with other attractions, schools and industry organisations and by offering volunteer opportunities which have been filled by passionate, local people.
“We dispute the view that the Council’s move will ensure ‘Best Value’ – the Council has failed to maintain the fabric of the Monument and neither have they demonstrated how they will develop the attraction, whereas under community ownership every penny raised by the Monument would be reinvested into the conservation, development and management of the Monument.”
Feature image credit: nationalwallacemonument.com