German-themed burger bar to removed from Kelpies site

KELPIES artist Andy Scott has won a battle to have a 'fake Bavarian burger bar' that sits in the shadow of his beloved Kelpies sculptures removed.

Picture: Michael Gillen
Picture: Michael Gillen

The creator of the Kelpies had threatened legal action over a burger stall based near the tourist attraction.

He claimed that the recent arrival of Artisan Grill, a German-style fast food cabin, “defiled” his vision and prevented the public from being able to properly view his 100ft sculptures, which loom over the Forth and Clyde Canal near Falkirk.

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The cabin was refused retrospective planning permission but the operators sought a review.

Picture: Michael Gillen

However, Falkirk Council have now confirmed that the stall will be removed.

A spokeswoman said: “The operators were previously refused planning permission by planning officers under delegated powers. They then asked for a review.

“The planning review committee of Falkirk council has upheld officers’ decision to refuse planning permission”.

Mr Scott, who is based in Maryhill, Glasgow, has told of his relief at the decision.

Picture: Michael Gillen

He said: “I am absolutely delighted that good sense has prevailed.

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“This decision means that the artworks and the landscaping will once again be seen in their full glory in the way it was intended.”

Mr Scott, 52, had previously written to council officials to express his opposition to the stall, calling it a “tacky concession stand”

Picture: Michael Gillen

He added: “I wonder if you’d be good enough to let me know when a decision might be made to instruct the removal of the offending (and offensive) structure.

“With every day that passes hundreds more people are having their appreciation of these sculptures marred by this monstrous carbuncle masquerading as a fast food outlet. It is a woeful situation.

“If the fake Bavarian burger bar is not removed at the soonest opportunity through planning procedures I will reluctantly be forced to instruct my lawyers to take appropriate steps, and will take additional measures myself in terms of my on-going relationship with the project.”

The sculptor has created public works of art in London, Belfast and Queensland, Australia, working in steel, fibreglass and cast bronze.

Picture: Michael Gillen

Mr Scott had threatened to disown the project and take legal action if his wishes were not respected.

The sculptures, the centrepiece of the £43 million Helix parkland project which includes cycle trails and play areaas, are made from 600 tonnes of steel and were inspired by the ancient myth of the kelpies, water spirits that appeared in the form of a horse.

They have attracted more than a million visitors since they were officially opened last summer.

“Kelpie burgers”

In an attempt to resolve the row, the owners of the stall, which offers “Kelpie burgers” among the temptations from its grill, had agreed to move to a less contentious location.

A letter sent by representatives of Supreme Fast Foods to planning officials said: “If the review board has concerns regarding design or location the applicant is willing to accept a condition that the unit be relocated to the satisfaction of the head of planning.”

Tom McInally, a town planner who is acting for the stall operators, claimed that they had acted in good faith.

He stated: “The applicant simply responded to an invitation to tender for a business opportunity advertised on a Scottish government website at the request of Falkirk Community Trust (FCT). The agency responsible for the site invited the operation in.

“FCT was fully aware of the nature and location of the proposed food unit and allowed the applicant to operate from the site and provided clearance that landowner consent was not required.”

A spokeswoman for the trust, a charitable arm of the council that operates the site, said: “The matter of the suitability for this operation in land use terms is a matter for the local planning authority, not FCT or the sculptor.”