Angus MacDonald welcomes start to £43 Million Helix project
Thursday, 03 February 2011 06:08
SNP initiative gets underway
* Recipient of Scotland’s largest Big Lottery Fund award starts work on major project
* Land between Falkirk and Grangemouth will be transformed into an international visitor attraction
* Development will feature world famous horse sculptures, The Kelpies®
Something fantastic is happening in the heart of Scotland.
A 300-hectare site of unused land between Falkirk and Grangemouth is to be transformed into the Helix, a superb, vibrant new parkland set to become an exciting international visitor attraction, which was conceived and developed under the previous SNP-led administration at Falkirk Council.
Whether it’s walking or running, cycling or sailing or simply taking in the beautiful natural setting, the Helix promises something for everyone.
Key developments in phase one will include a dramatic central park, with its own enclosed lagoon and outdoor events space. Boaters will be able to navigate a new canal link connecting Grangemouth and the Firth of Forth to Scotland’s extensive canal network.
The centrepiece of the new canal link will be the stunning Kelpies® lock: two 30-metre-high sculptures in the shape of horse’s heads.
Other planned developments include pathways and cycle networks, a major public artwork and a range of community facilities.
The Helix has been awarded £25 million by the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks programme, the largest single grant to be made to an individual project . Phase one of the project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2013.
The first contractor to start work on the Helix is Land Engineering. The company is carrying out a series of landscape improvements in the southern zone of the Helix site.
Cllr Angus MacDonald with the Kelpie replicas in Grangemouth Town Centre. The full scale Kelpies will stand 30 metres tall at the entrance to Grangemouth near the River Carron.
Welcoming the start of work on site, SNP Candidate for Falkirk East, Grangemouth Councillor Angus MacDonald said:
"I am extremely pleased to see the work start on site to construct the main public access road to the Helix site. This project was conceived and developed under the previous SNP-led administration at Falkirk Council and is now reaching a major milestone towards its completion.
"Construction of the road will allow other important areas to be constructed, such as the central park and canal elements. It will also act as the main access road for the many visitors expected to visit the completed Helix site every year.
"This project will provide real opportunities for communities and businesses in Falkirk district, and once completed will create a fantastic recreational facility for local people and attract visitors from near and far."
Throughout 2011, work will also start on the construction of central park, the canal hub, canal extension and the fabrication of the full-size Kelpies®.
David Lamont, acting chief executive of the Helix Trust and head of Operations, British Waterways Scotland, said: “It is hugely exciting to think that, from now, people will really begin to see this major new landscape taking shape. A stunning blend of waterway and parkland, I am confident it will become a real heartland for the local communities of Grangemouth and Falkirk as well as a great visitor attraction in its own right.”
Alison Magee, Chair of the Big Lottery Fund Scotland Committee, said: “I’m thrilled that the dedication and effort of the partnership here in Falkirk is now coming to fruition. Today marks the physical start of this wonderful regeneration project, which I hope will continue to capture the imagination of people living and working in Falkirk and Grangemouth. When we made the award we saw the potential to leave an indelible mark not only on the local landscape but also on neighbouring communities, who will reap the rewards of the project when it is completed. The input from local people will ensure the success of the Helix in the long term and we hope that those communities will continue to play their part in shaping its future.”
Simon Rennie, Chief Executive of Central Scotland Forest Trust (CSFT), said: “The Helix project is an excellent example of partnership working at its very best. CSFT congratulates all those involved in carefully steering the project towards the start of construction. I look forward to watching the Helix vision become reality.”
Pamela McMahon, Regional Director VisitScotland, said: “I am delighted to see work starting on the Helix Project. It promises to be a major attraction for the area, and I wish the Trust every success in its completion.”