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Public demand leads to rethink of Kelpie visitor centre plans

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Plans for a visitor centre at Andy Scott’s giant Kelpies attraction near Falkirk have been sent back to the drawing board after the attraction was more popular than originally thought.

Falkirk Community Trust has been given an extra £160,000 on top of the original £1.7m budget by Falkirk Council to build a larger centre at Helix park to handle the influx of visitors.

The new funds have been allocated to provide an ‘enhanced user experience’ for the Nicol Russell Studios-designed centre and include a larger retail area, storage and staff facilities at the centre.

The attraction in Scotland has proved to be a huge hit with the public since its launch with 680,000 people visiting the giant sculptures since they were officially opened in September - double the 350,000 expected per year.

Almost a million people are predicted to visit the giant horse heads by the end of March.

The 30m-high horse head sculptures have been erected next to a new extension of the Forth and Clyde canal and are the focal point of a new parkland which connects 16 communities in the Falkirk area.

The Kelpies were designed by Andy Scott and were completed in October 2013. The sculptures opened to the public in April last year

Kelpies are known in Celtic folklore as shape-shifting mythical water spirits which possessed the strength of ten horses. Almost every sizable body of water in Scotland has a myth alluding to a Kelpie associated with it.

Speaking to the BBC councillor Adrian Mahoney, Falkirk council’s spokesman for culture, leisure and tourism, said: ‘I’m looking forward to seeing the new building being completed.

‘Work is progressing well on site and hopefully we will be operational later this year.

‘The centre will provide welcome new facilities to the Helix Park to deal with the huge numbers of people visiting the site and seeing the awesome Kelpies.’

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Readers' comments (1)

  • I recently visited the site with friends and family. I was stunned with amazement at the grandeur of site. I was dismayed that the park seems under-planned and misses the mark for begin a cultural, concert venue. The face of the Visitor Center should be designed with a huge ampi-theater seating ... capacity for at least 750.

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