Outrage at castle Olympic plans

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The massive sign would be visible from Princes Street

A HUGE Olympic logo could be draped across Edinburgh Castle’s walls as a giant advert for the London Olympics.

Games organisers have lodged plans to attach an aluminium Olympic insignia to the north face of the castle.

The scheme is part of a vision to promote the English event as “inclusive and UK-wide.”

But city politicians have blasted the move to use the ancient structure as a billboard for an event that’s happening in rival city London.

Heritage watchdogs insist that Olympic chiefs would never have been allowed to deface Windsor Castle with the emblem and have suggested finding alternative locations such as the Forth Bridge or the city’s North Bridge.

The Olympic logo will be elevated on the north west rampart of the castle and will be 60ft wide and 27 ft high.

Papers lodged with Edinburgh Council say the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) want permission to hang the sign for nine months from the historic structure.

But the Games committee will have to gain support from the heritage group Historic Scotland and Edinburgh Council before plans can go ahead to erect the sign.

The sign would be visible from Princes Street and the north of the city if the plans win approval.

Galling

The Olympic symbol has already been erected at St Pancras Station in London, with Tower Bridge also being considered as a site.

Edinburgh is the first city outside London to be invited to display the emblem while Belfast and Cardiff are also expected to be approached.

But Edinburgh Central MSP Marco Biagi criticised the plans.

He said: “It’s galling to be asked to advertise an event that will draw tourists and visitors to a different city. I’m sure there will be a lot of strong objections from people inEdinburgh, and I certainly have substantial reservations about the idea.”

Director of the Cockburn Association, Marion Williams, said: “I can’t see them being allowed to put it up on Windsor Castle. They could have put it on the Forth Bridge or maybe the North Bridge.”

Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald said: “Do you think London would put up a big sign saying the Commonwealth Games is being held in Glasgow? I don’t think so.”

Though the sign will not be illuminated, it is thought that the advert would be visible for miles from the popular tourist hot-spot.

The huge logo, made from aluminium rings will be powder coated in blue, red, black, yellow and green and will stand on a steel structure, attached to the castle.

A spokesperson for London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games, chaired by Lord Sebastian Coe, said Edinburgh Castle had been identified as the “right place” to erect the Olympic emblem following talks with the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland and the council.

He said the cost of fabrication and installation would be met by the Government Olympic Executive, rather then Scottish tax payers.

“We are committed to this being a UK-wide games,” he said. “The London 2012 festival takes place across the UK and it’s a really strong programme of cultural celebration alongside the games in Scotland. With that, the torch relay and football being hosted at Hampden Park it’s part of delivering on our promise to genuinely make this a UK-wide games.”

Plans have also been lodged with the council to attach a Paralympic logo to the castle, which will be visible from the north-west rampart of the castle.

The 31ft by 45ft sign will display three Paralympic symbols, painted red, blue and green.

But the Games committee have only asked for permission to use the sign for two months.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokeswoman said: “An application for advertisement consent was received on 7 November. A report on the application will be considered by the Development Management Sub Committee in the coming weeks.”

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