Tayside and Central Scotland

Work starts on £43m Helix visitor attraction

Computer-generated image of the horse head sculptures (courtesy of the Helix Trust)
Image caption The centrepiece of the new canal link will be two huge horse head sculptures

Work to transform a 300-hectare site of unused land between Falkirk and Grangemouth into an international visitor attraction is set to begin.

The £43m Helix project includes two huge horse head sculptures and a waterway linking Grangemouth into the Scottish canal network.

Work will start on the canal hub and canal extension, and the fabrication of the 30m (98ft) "kelpie" sculptures.

The Big Lottery Fund is contributing £25m to the project.

Other planned developments include pathways and cycle networks, a major public artwork and a range of community facilities.

Phase one of the project is scheduled to be completed by summer 2013.

The Helix is being driven by a partnership of Falkirk Council, British Waterways Scotland and Central Scotland Forest Trust through the Helix Trust.

'Inspirational project'

Councillor Craig Martin, leader of Falkirk Council, said: "The Helix is a unique and inspirational project and I'm delighted we've reached this milestone.

"The scale and ambition of the Helix has already generated great excitement locally and nationally.

"This is set to grow as we start to transform the site and move towards delivering this landmark environmental initiative which will create real opportunities in the Falkirk Council area for communities, visitors and businesses."

Last May, preparatory work was undertaken at the site, including upgrades to footpaths in the woods at Abbotshaugh, near Bainsford and Langlees.

Falkirk Council expects the entire development to take three years.

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