Olympic chiefs blame Scottish officials for Castle rings plan

The massive sign would be viable from Princes Street

OLYMPIC bosses say plans to hang giant rings from Edinburgh Castle were not their idea.

The UK Government claims the decision was made by officials in Scotland and that they considered other locations for the sign promoting next year’s Games.

A spokesman forWestminster’s Department of Media, Culture and Sport, which is in charge of delivering the London 2012 Olympics, said: “Other locations, aside from Edinburgh Castle, were considered in the National Gallaries of Scotland complex.

“But it was agreed in consultation with the Scottish Government, Historic Scotland,Edinburgh council and local stakeholders that the Castle was the preferred location.”

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.

Edinburgh’s deputy council leader Steve Cardownie is leading opposition to the proposals and has vowed to “send them home to think again.”

Heritage chiefs have also hit out at the plans, suggesting that Games organisers would never have dared put an advertisement on the Acropolis in Athens or the Forbidden City in Beijing.


Euan Leich, vice-chairman of the Architectural Heritage Society, said Olympic bosses should be forced to explain why the Castle was deemed an appropriate site when historic monuments in other Olympic cities had not.

He said: “The best that can be said about the proposed position of the Olympic symbol on Edinburgh Castle is that it will cause no damage to the historic fabric.

“It will be a visual intrusion, albeit temporary. Visitors to Edinburgh in the summer of 2012 will be unable to take photographs of that famous view without the logo and at least you can crop the temporary stands for the Military Tattoo out of the frame.”

He added: “It’s a crude connection to the London Olympics compared to the well thought out “Speed of Light” event planned for Arthur’s Seat.

“It is notable that neither the Athenian Acropolis nor Beijing’s Forbidden City received the Olympic branding and the question remains, why should our historic site?”

A spokesman for the Scottish Government said: “It is for the relevant statutory authorities, the city council and Historic Scotland, to determine the application.”

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

The cost is expected to be met by the Government Olympic Executive, rather then Scottish tax payers.

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

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.