Connery sends out mixed message on architecture, claims ex-leader

FORMER city leader Donald Anderson today said Sir Sean Connery was sending "mixed messages" about his views on Edinburgh's architecture.

Mr Anderson said he did not agree with the screen legend's opinion that few people at the council appreciated the city's international reputation within the cinema industry.

The former Labour leader did say, however, that he supported the stalled plans for a new film centre in Festival Square, and thinks it should named in honour of the actor.

Mr Anderson led the city council for eight years, and much of the criticism raised by Sir Sean in his new autobiography stems from decisions made during this period in Edinburgh's history.

In the book, the 77-year-old praises the "imaginative" work of Edinburgh architects Allan Murray, Malcolm Fraser and Richard Murphy, but deplores the general standard of new buildings springing up across the city.

Mr Anderson said: "When you come back to Edinburgh, you will see big changes.

"(But] in terms of architecture, he says he is a fan of Allan Murray, and Allan Murray has done a lot of the architecture, so I think there's a mixed message."

Plans for the Festival Square film centre were unveiled by architect Richard Murphy three years ago, but no planning application ever reached the council.

Mr Anderson said: "I remember when the plans were explained to me and my first reaction was to think it wouldn't be possible to get through the planning hurdles. However, Richard invited me down to see the model, and it did move my opinion.

"There's no question that we need a new Filmhouse and the council needs to play a central part in that.

"Sir Sean Connery is the most famous Scotsman and there should be a permanent marker (to him] in the city."