The man in charge of Scotland’s purse strings will meet local campaigners next week to discuss a landmark of international significance at Gretna.
The Star of Caledonia is a shimmering sculpture that could transform the border crossing at Gretna and become Scotland’s own Angel of the North.
Mr Swinney will meet the campaigners from the Gretna Landmark Trust at his Edinburgh office on Tuesday 6th August, after an intervention by south of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine.
In a letter to Ms McAlpine, Mr Swinney, Scotland’s Finance Minister said:
“I am looking forward to learning more about the project and the plans for its future development. The Star of Caledonia is an imaginative project and it will bring positive benefits to the south west of Scotland.”
The Education Minister Michael Russell has also expressed his enthusiasm for the project which was first conceived as a way to regenerate Dumfries and Galloway in the wake of the foot and mouth disaster ten years ago. Mr Russell intends to meet with the Trust at a later date to discuss how it might work in partnership with the Glasgow Science Centre on an education project.
The star’s design - conceived by Cecil Balmond and Charles Jencks, is rooted in Scotland’s scientific contribution to the world. One of the main inspirations for the work came from the ”father of modern physics” - James Clerk Maxwell – who was brought up in Dumfriesshire and developed the theory of the electro-magnetic field.
South of Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine said:
“The star will celebrate Scotland’s tradition of innovation, and pay tribute to one of our most important historical figures whose work inspired Albert Einstein and paved the way for his theory of relativity.
“I have been backing this project because I believe a landmark like this will be a real draw for the area - just as the Angel of the North has been a boon for the North East of England. I am delighted to see that it has cross party support and in Cumbria too.
“Investment in other cultural facilities across Scotland have attracted significant numbers of visitors and have a beneficial economic impact. I am quite sure that the Star of Caledonia will be great for the region and a powerful symbol of Scotland.”