'Welcome to Falkirk' twinning signs axed over £238k price tag

The signs would have to be translated into Gaelic as part of an agreement to replace road signs with bilingual ones.

‘Welcome to Falkirk’ signs with European links and Gaelic translation axed over £238k price tag STV News

A plan to get new “Welcome to Falkirk” signs to highlight the area’s close links with European towns was dismissed as unaffordable at a council budget meeting.

Members heard that the cost of getting the signs made and putting them in place could be as much as £238,000.

All of the signs would also have to be translated into Gaelic as part of a long standing agreement to replace old road signs with new bilingual ones.

But the council has agreed to look at replacing them as and when they need replaced, which is what happens currently with Gaelic signage.

Last October, Provost Robert Bissett had asked for a report looking at the cost of putting road signs in place recognising the areas long-standing twinning arrangements with Creteil in France and the Odenwald in Germany.

The Provost said that he felt the signage would boost tourism and show that Falkirk “is outward looking, culturally and economically.”

At a meeting on Wednesday to agree Falkirk Council’s budget for the year ahead, members heard the cost of getting the signs made and putting them in place would be between £13,000 and £36,000 for each sign, depending on their size and location.

According to the report, the costs take into account preliminaries, traffic management, site clearance and traffic signs.

The new signs will also have to be translated into Gaelic as agreed in 2005, under the Falkirk Council gaelic language plan.

The agreement is that when high-profile signs are due to be renewed they will be replaced with bi-lingual signs in English and Gaelic.

The council’s budget report suggested that replacing the existing signage, taking into account bilingual and twinning consideration, would cost approximately £238,000.

This will cover replacing three signs on trunk roads and ten on council owned highways.

Provost Bissett said he was disappointed that the work will not progress sooner but added that he had never intended such a large sum of money to be spent.

He said: “All myself and the Odenwald and Creteil group were trying to achieve was to show that Falkirk is outward looking culturally and economically.

“The intention was only for a few small signs at entry points to the council for example coming from Stirling into Falkirk. We got a price for signs that cost £7,000 for six signs that would in my view have sufficed.

“There was never any thought of spending £200,000 on signs as that would simply be irresponsible given these challenging financial times.”

But he did challenge the agreement reached in the budget between the Conservatives and the SNP to spend £20,000 on new signs for Falkirk High Street to commemorate the Battle of Falkirk 1298.

Provost Bissett said: “We can have signs for the Battle of Falkirk which is very important historically yet we won’t consider even one sign to show our international cultural links.”

Conservative councillor James Bundy said at the meeting: “Commemorating one of the most historic battles in Scotland’s history, which happened on our doorsteps, is a way of regenerating Falkirk High Street.

“It’s not the solution, it’s part of the solution and this is going to support efforts alongside the new Falkirk Town Hall.”

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