Kelpies artist wins battle to have “carbuncle” burger bar demolished


THE creator of The Kelpies has won his battle to have a “carbuncle” fast food stall next to his iconic sculptures demolished.

Andy Scott – the artist behind the 30m high stainless steel Falkirk horses – was “flabbergasted” when a “fake Bavarian burger bar” was put up within metres of his creation earlier this year.

He claimed the fast food cabin – approved by the local community trust in March – “defiled” his vision and prevented tourists properly viewing the horses.

Glasgow-based Mr Scott – who owns the intellectual property rights for the statues – even threatened legal action over the “sauce-stained” stall.

Now Falkirk Council have turned down a retrospective application for the stall – meaning it will have to be removed.

The Kelpies have become a symbol of the Falkirk area
The Kelpies have become a symbol of the Falkirk area

Stall owners previously had their application turned down but asked for a review, even offering to relocate to a less controversial spot.

Yesterday this last-ditch effort was also denied, giving Mr Scott the final victory.

A spokeswoman for Falkirk Council said: “The operators were previously refused planning permission by planning officers under delegated powers. They then asked for a review.

“The planning review committee of Falkirk Council has upheld officers’ decision to refuse planning permission.”

Mr Scott – a graduate of Glasgow School of Art – said the decision was extremely welcome.

He said: “I am absolutely delighted that good sense has prevailed.

“This decision means that the artworks and the landscaping will once again be seen in their full glory in the way it was intended.

Discussing his approach, Mr Scott added: “It’s nothing to do with me trying to be unyielding or unwieldy or anything like that.

“The reality is I have a say. My job is to protect the integrity of the artwork. If these are supposed to be landmarks for the country they should be treated accordingly.”

Mr Scott previously wrote to the council, saying: “I wonder if you’d be good enough to let me know when a decision might be made to instruct the removal of the offending (and offensive) structure.

“With every day that passes hundred more people are having their appreciation of these sculptures marred by this monstrous carbuncle masquerading as a fast food outlet.

“It is a woeful situation.”

Mr Scott even went as far as providing a photograph of the stall to the council, adding: “Even the barrel (being used as a table) is broken and the slabs are being stained by assorted sauces. National icons? It is frankly unbelievable.”

He also threatened to pursue legal action if his concerns were not addressed.

The artist was backed up by Richard Millar, director of infrastructure with Scottish Canals.

His submission to the council read: “Given the current location of the snack bar it is virtually impossible to capture any proper image of The Kelpies without including at least part of the structure.

“Their images are to be seen worldwide symbolising the regeneration and aspiration of the Falkirk area and drawing visitors from far and wide.”

Tom McInally – a town planner action on behalf of Supreme Fast Foods, who own the stall – said the company had agreed to erect the stall in good faith.

He explained: “The applicant simply responded to an invitation to tender for a business opportunity advertised on a Scottish government website at the request of Falkirk Community Trust (FCT).

“The agency responsible for the site invited the operation in. FCT was fully aware of the nature and location of the proposed food unit and allowed the applicant to operate from the site and provided clearance that landowner consent was not required.”

A spokeswoman for the trust – a charity arm of the council which operates the site – said: “The matter of the suitability for this operation in land use terms is a matter for the local planning authority, not FCT or the sculptor.”

The Kelpies – made from 600 tonnes of steel – are the centrepiece of a £43m parkland project, and have attracted over one million visitors since they opened last summer.

Councillors have previously been riled by Mr Scott’s strict controls over the sculptures.

They claimed that because they were funded through taxpayer cash and lottery funds, the public should have more say over how they are managed.

The row began after Mr Scott refused to allow the community to drape an oversized Falkirk FC scarf around one of the statues to mark the team’s appearance in the Scottish Cup Final.