A CONTROVERSIAL £20,000 granite sign marking the public entrance to the Scottish Parliament is to stay in place – even when the door becomes the official exit.
Holyrood bosses said five years ago the giant bilingual sign was needed to highlight the way into the parliament because visitors sometimes could not find it.
But once the new £6.6 million security annexe under construction is opened, the current entrance will be remodelled to form the exit from the building.
However, rather than move the sign to the new entrance, the parliament said it would stay where it is, but may have an arrow added to direct people to the new way in at the far end of the building’s frontage.
Independent Lothian MSP Margo MacDonald said leaving the entrance sign next to the exit would cause confusion.
She added: “It will be perfectly in keeping with the parliament – people won’t know whether they are coming or going.”
She said the “easiest, most sensible and most economic” solution would have been not to build the security extension in the first place.
The annexe, due to come into operation next month, will mean security screening takes place before visitors enter the parliament building itself.
But critics have questioned whether it is really necessary and the design has been slated by Benedetta Tagliabue, widow of the parliament’s original architect, Enric Miralles.
The sign – which says “The Scottish Parliament Public Entrance” in both English and Gaelic – measures 5.9 metres by 1.1 metres and is made of four panels of South African granite.
It was installed in 2008 after a review of visitor services recommended signage should be improved.
The parliament says the security extension remains on schedule to be ready next month.
Once the new entrance comes into operation, hoardings will be erected around the existing public entrance while it is converted it into the new exit. This work is expected to be completed in September.
The final element of the project, scheduled to be finished soon afterwards, involves closing off the existing exit and again hoardings will be erected to allow the work to take place.
A parliament spokeswoman said of the sign: “It’s staying where it is. We’re going to amend it slightly to make it clear where the entrance is.”
She said details were still being worked out, but it could mean an arrow being added. She said: “People will be pointed in the right direction.”
She added: “Throughout the summer, the building will remain open to the public and the public cafe, visitor tours etc will operate as usual.”