Star of Caledonia receives South of Scotland Enterprise support to progress landmark project

Plans to create a landmark sculpture at Gretna have been boosted by support from South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE).

The region’s economic and community development agency have agreed to support a full business case for the Star of Caledonia project through funding of £103,000.

Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal announced in March 2021 included a commitment of £1.5 million to the project, subject to a full business case being agreed by 2022, while a further £5.5m has been pledged by Community Windpower Ltd subject to the final proposals being agreed.

What is the Star of Caledonia?

  • The idea for the Star of Caledonia followed the devastating foot and mouth outbreak in 2001
  • Local landowner Alasdair Houston and other members of the community were keen to create a spectacular landmark for Scotland at the English border and raise the profile of the South of Scotland.
  • It led to the creation of the Gretna Landmark Trust, and the Star of Caledonia concept, which is a collaborative design between the late Charles Jencks and Cecil Balmond.
  • The eye-catching design is inspired by the work of James Clerk Maxwell, the 19th century Scottish physicist and mathematician. Maxwell is regarded as one of the world’s most important scientists, who is best known for his formulation of electromagnetic theory.
  • The Star of Caledonia is proposed to be 40 metres high and aims to stimulate economic growth by attracting additional visitors to the region. The design will prove a powerful catalyst for regeneration as part of a wider cultural and tourism vision.​​​​​

Gretna Landmark Trust Chair, Alasdair Houston

“The Star of Caledonia is a project of international importance that will be invaluable in promoting regeneration and recovery in the wake of the pandemic by shining a light on Dumfries and Galloway.

“This SOSE funding is a tremendous boost that takes us another step forward in our quest to create a truly fitting landmark at the border between Scotland and England.

“The business case funding will be the key to unlocking £1.5 million which, in addition to the other generous funding pledges, would mean that work could begin on-site within months.

“I’m also delighted by the huge enthusiasm that the project is generating from the community and the support we are receiving from Dumfries and Galloway Council, and from MPs and MSPs across the political spectrum.”

South of Scotland Enterprise Chair, Professor Russel Griggs OBE

“Alasdair Houston’s drive and perseverance over the last 20 years has meant his Star of Caledonia vision is still burning brightly, and I know how passionate everyone involved in the project is about making this vision now become a reality.

“I am delighted SOSE has been able to support a full business case, which is a vital stage which will fully explore the economic, social and educational benefits the Star of Caledonia would provide the local area.”

Further information

With thanks to the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation for providing its Maxwell Torch to symbolise the work of the prominent scientist whose work inspired the Star of Caledonia design.

The funding award of £103,476 provided to the Gretna Landmark Trust for the Star of Caledonia full business case also includes:

  • Design and site costs
  • Quantity Surveyor costs
  • Legal
  • Project management

The Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal was formally signed on 18 March 2021, bringing in up to £452 million of fresh investment to the Borderlands area. Ministers of the UK and Scottish Governments and representatives of the five councils of the Borderlands Partnership signed the Deal at a virtual ceremony.

The Deal is truly distinctive, covering the largest geographical area of any regional growth Deal negotiated with the UK and Scottish Governments and it is the first cross-border deal.

More information on Borderlands is available.

Information about the Star of Caledonia is available