Security hall plan for Holyrood labelled ‘costly and pointless’

PLANS to construct a new security hall at the front of the Scottish Parliament have been described as “costly and pointless” by an MSP.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie criticised plans announced yesterday by the Holyrood authorities for a substantial external security facility for the building.

In a letter explaining the step to MSPs, Holyrood Presiding Officer Tricia Marwick said the move is based on “clear and consistent advice” from security advisers and police.

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An image, which will be lodged along with the formal application to Edinburgh city council later this week, shows the structure extending from the front of the building, close to the public entrance.

Other measures have already been taken, such as bollards in the Royal Mile and concrete benches at the front of the building, which cost about £2 million.

Ms Marwick added: “The one major recommendation not yet implemented is the provision of an external security facility to provide a significantly safer and more secure environment for screening visitors while also protecting over 400,000 visitors per year, up to 1,000 daily passholders and the infrastructure of the parliament building.” She said the final decision to build the structure will only be taken if the cost and timescale is “acceptable”. No estimate has been made public.

But Mr Harvie said there were ‘no active threats’ to parliament and visitors should not feel as if they are being treated as a threat.