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Star of Caledonia receives SOSE support to progress landmark project


Plans to create a landmark sculpture at Gretna have been boosted by support from South of Scotland Enterprise.


The region’s economic and community development agency have agreed to support a full business case for the Star of Caledonia project through funding of £103,000.


Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal announced in March 2021 included a commitment of £1.5 million to the project, subject to a full business case being agreed by 2022, while a further £5.5m has been pledged by Community Windpower Ltd subject to the final proposals being agreed.

The idea for the Star of Caledonia followed the devastating foot and mouth outbreak in 2001, with local landowner Alasdair Houston and other members of the community keen to create a spectacular landmark for Scotland at the English border and raise the profile of the South of Scotland.

It led to the creation of the Gretna Landmark Trust, and the Star of Caledonia concept, which is a collaborative design between the late Charles Jencks and Cecil Balmond.

The eye-catching design is inspired by the work of James Clerk Maxwell, the 19th-century Scottish physicist and mathematician. Maxwell is regarded as one of the world’s most important scientists, who is best known for his formulation of electromagnetic theory.

The Star of Caledonia is proposed to be 40 metres high and aims to stimulate economic growth by attracting additional visitors to the region. The design will prove a powerful catalyst for regeneration as part of a wider cultural and tourism vision.

Gretna Landmark Trust Chair, Alasdair Houston, said: The Star of Caledonia is a project of international importance that I am convinced will be invaluable in promoting regeneration and recovery in the wake of the pandemic by shining a light on Dumfries and Galloway.


“This SOSE funding is a tremendous boost that takes us another step forward in our quest to create a truly fitting landmark at the border between Scotland and England.


“The business case funding will be the key to unlocking £1.5 million which, in addition to the other generous funding pledges, would mean that work onsite could begin within months.”


“I’m also delighted by the huge enthusiasm that the project is generating from the community and the support we are receiving from the Dumfries and Galloway Council, and from MPs and MSPs across the political spectrum.”


South of Scotland Enterprise Chair, Professor Russel Griggs OBE, added:


I know how passionate all of those involved in the Star of Caledonia are about making Alastair Houston’s original vision become a reality, and I am delighted South of Scotland Enterprise has been able to support the project moving to its next phase.


“The full business case is a vital stage which will fully explore the economic, social and educational benefits the Star of Caledonia would provide the local area.”

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