Ambitious 160-ft Citizen Spire could be Fife’s answer to The Kelpies

Ambitious plans for a huge national monument in west Fife could do for the Kingdom what the iconic Kelpies have done for the Falkirk area, it has been claimed.

By Craig Smith, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Wednesday, 23rd February 2022, 5:01 pm

A feasibility study will be commissioned to assess public support for the so-called ‘Citizen Spire’ project, which aims to see a large, pyramidal structure created as a focal point on the landscape which would attract visitors to the region from across the world.

The brainchild of Fife artist Ian Moir, ‘Citizen Spire’ - at an estimated height of nearly 160 feet - would be visible from the M90 and for miles around, and would not only be a tourist attraction but could house a viewing platform and a contemporary arts theatre-type space within.

The project’s price tag was initially thought to be around £10 million, but the designs have been scaled back and the feasibility study will also provide a revised cost estimate as well as identifying the long-term social and economic benefits such a structure might have.

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An impression of how the Citizen Spire might look

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Talks are ongoing between Mr Moir and landowners about where it could be sited, but the former St Ninian's opencast coal mine at Kelty and land at Castlandhill near Rosyth - recently the subject of plans for a huge mixed-use development and a new Queensferry Country Park - are believed to be viable options.

The idea has been given some high-profile backing and that includes the support of Falkirk Council leader Councillor Cecil Meiklejohn, who has seen first hand the benefits an art project on this scale can bring.

“Community engagement and participation in the development of the project that delivered the Helix Park and the internationally recognised iconic Kelpies in Falkirk was key to us receiving, at that time, the largest ever Lottery award of £25 million,” she said.

How the Citizen Spire could look

“It has created a sense of community ownership and civic pride throughout the district, a place that belongs to everyone and has put Falkirk on the world map as a major tourist attraction.

“The Citizen Spire project is again unique, and has the potential to do the same for Dunfermline and for the wider county of Fife .

“As a close neighbour, I look forward to seeing this project develop with the people’s support,

“I am sure it will succeed and be all that they want it to be.”

Councillor Jim Leishman, Provost of Fife, has also been enthused by plans for the monument to celebrate citizenship and all its benefits.

He said: “Citizen Spire is a great concept that will be hugely beneficial to people, not just in Fife but across Scotland and the rest of the UK.

“​We need ambitious projects like these that will inspire future generations to succeed.

“Citizenship is all about taking responsibility and being all you can be.”

According to the plans, at night the spire would be transformed into a flickering beacon, receiving video projections upon its exterior surface.

Mr Moir firmly believes the realisation of his vision would have massive regenerative effects on the local economy and would open up opportunities to develop the surrounding area.

He concluded: "I think that Citizen Spire, both as a national monument and a cultural events venue, would attract people to west Fife and focus the public's mind on the importance of community, heritage and freedom."

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