Steve Cardownie, Edinburgh’s deputy council leader today vowed to stop those planning to turn Edinburgh Castle into a giant Olympic logo advert from carrying out their plan, branding it “ludicrous and a nonsense”.
If permission is granted, the eight-metre high model of the five Olympic rings – and an even taller Paralympic Agitos symbol – would be attached to the Castle ramparts and be clearly visible from Princes Street and the north of the city throughout the period of the London Games.
Mr Cardownie said: “The Castle is one of the most photographed sites in the whole of the UK, to have that Olympic symbol up there is a blemish. Everybody knows the Olympics is on and we don’t need a reminder on Scotland’s cherished castle, so we will send them home to think again.”
Former Olympic gold medal-winning sprinter and Allan Wells, said: “Maybe it’s not as appropriate as it could be. While I’m not quite sure if the Castle is the right place, we should accept the Games is coming to London and give it our support. Personally I would support it [being there] but if the majority of Scots said it shouldn’t be up there I would support that as well. I think it would be more appropriate if Edinburgh was having the Olympics.”
Responding to accusations from the London Games organisers that objectors were simple being “short sighted”, independent MSP Margo MacDonald said the Olympic Games organisers themselves were “short-sighted” in not taking into account the anger of Edinburgh citizens. Ms MacDonald said she plans to write a letter to Shona Robison, Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, and will raise the issue in the Scottish parliamentary chamber as required.
Ms MacDonald said: “It defaces the Castle and interrupts a period when we are trying to promote Edinburgh. It’s a bit of a con job really because the Olympics are not much to do with us and it’s insulting our intelligence to say we are part of it. That doesn’t mean we are opposed to the Games but it’s their show, please don’t interfere with our show.”
“Seb Coe has put Edinburgh City Council in an embarrassing position and is taking advantage of our generosity. The contribution we made without being asked was from the budget for community sport. Does that make us part of the Olympics? I don’t think so.”
An Edinburgh City Council spokeswoman said: “An application for advertisement consent was received on November 7. A report on the application will be considered by the development management sub-committee in the coming weeks.”
A spokeswoman for Historic Scotland said: “We have received a Scheduled Monument Consent for a temporary application for the Olympic rings, which is going through the due process.”
Views from the streets of Edinbugh:
Lara Robb, 34, travel consultant: “I don’t really like it but it’s supporting the Olympics and UK so, as long as it’s taken down at the end of the Games, I don’t have too much of a problem. I don’t think it would look really attractive or nice though. A light projection at night would be better maybe.”
Joe Caslinne, 28, student: “I don’t like the look of it at all. I don’t think the Castle should be just seen as a building that no-one can touch. It should be used and engaged with but not to that extent. I don’t agree with the scale of it. It’s like a brand logo going on the side of the Castle. I really don’t think it’s attractive at all.”
John and Jean Clark, 75 and 73, retired: “I don’t see why we should be talking about putting the logo on the Castle. There’s very little we’re getting in direct benefits anyway – some of the football matches are coming here maybe, but not a lot else. The Olympics doesn’t have much to do with Edinburgh. We’re not anti-English at all but most of the emphasis is on London and down south. We’re not really participating so why put something like that up there? It’s an eyesore, and Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. We’re talking about Edinburgh Castle. It’s not an advertising board – it’s a historical building and it should be left alone.”