Parliament points out public entrance just few yards away

A tourist gets some help to locate the Scottish Parliament's entrance
A tourist gets some help to locate the Scottish Parliament's entrance
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IT’S made of granite, cost £20,000 and spells out its message in giant letters in both English and Gaelic – but the sign for the Scottish Parliament public entrance seems not to be doing its job.

Now Holyrood bosses have placed two new signs just a few yards away with big arrows and the words “Way In”.

The parliament said the move followed feedback from disabled groups, which said they had difficulty finding the entrance.

But MSPs today said the new signs raised questions about why so much money had been spent on the granite sign if it did not fulfil its purpose.

Lothians Tory MSP David McLetchie said: “It goes to show that a more functional and visible sign would have been preferable at the outset, rather than spending £20,000 on a fancy sign which states the obvious but doesn’t actually do a proper job in terms of directing people into the building.

“But I don’t suppose there is any market for second-hand Scottish Parliament granite signs, so there will be no recovery of cash there.”

The irregularly shaped 18ft sign, made of South African granite, says “Scottish Parliament Public Entrance” and was put up in May 2008 after a review of visitor services.

It was criticised at the time as unnecessary and extravagant, but officials insisted research showed signage needed to be improved and materials had to be of appropriate quality for a World Heritage Site.

Two weeks after it was installed, the workmen were called back to make adjustments because the final “E” was four millimetres too high.

Independent Lothians MSP Margo MacDonald also criticised the new signs.

She said: “Words fail me, but I’m sure there must be a reasonable explanation. They probably had some change left after buying the stab vests.”

A parliament spokeswoman said: “Access for members of the general public is important to us. The two new signs have been installed to assist disabled people, particularly in guiding partially-sighted visitors to the public entrance.

“There was feedback from groups of disabled people that they found it hard to find the entrance.”

She said the new signs were positioned to help direct people who approached by way of the nearby pedestrian crossing.

The spokeswoman was unable to put a price on the new signs, but said the cost had been met from existing budgets.