Mothballed war memorials fall victim to the recession

PLANS for new memorials in honour of all the Capital's fallen war heroes are set to be mothballed.

The city council unveiled plans for a memorial on land between Greendykes and Edmonstone in 2008.

It was to be modelled on Staffordshire's National Arboretum and would commemorate all of the city's war dead.

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But city leaders have confirmed that the slowdown in the development of the Craigmillar area has meant that the scheme has had to be put on hold.

The council also said it would take at least another two years for a garden of remembrance to be created at Princes Street Gardens West. However, there are still hopes the scheme could get moving within two years if the funds are raised by public subscription or by private benefactors.

Councillor Gordon Buchan, who first called for the new war memorials in 2007, said: "Given that we have still got a number of unfortunate incidents where people in service are losing their lives, I wanted to see how the council was progressing with this.

"I am disappointed that it has not moved as quickly as we had hoped. It seems to me that Princes Street has the most momentum at the moment, but I won't give up on the arboretum.

"We should still try to have this new national memorial. There is one down south, and there is no reason why we shouldn't have one for ourselves as well."

It is not yet known how much land the new arboretum would be on, or how much the scheme would cost. However, it is unlikely to be anywhere near the size of the National Arboretum in Alrewas, Staffordshire, which is made up of 150 acres of trees and memorials.

Initial talks have taken place between council green space officers and Parc, the council-backed developer taking forward the regeneration of Craigmillar, but the recession, which has slowed down development in the area, has scuppered the plans.

City leader Jenny Dawe said: "This is a long-term development proposal with no fixed date, and due to the current economic climate it seems unlikely that a start date will emerge soon."

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The council put out a 500,000 tender notice in 2008 for the Princes Street scheme, which was to be based on a number of gardens of remembrance in Australian cities.

Five companies have been shortlisted to undertake consultation and complete an outline design for the garden of remembrance. The successful firm is expected to be selected by the end of this month, with an outline design expected by the summer.

Cllr Dawe confirmed the scheme would be financed by public subscription or a private initiative. She said: "Several new monuments in Edinburgh have been the subject of public subscription in recent years.

"It is anticipated that fundraising for the garden of remembrance would take at least two years, but it is impossible to predict exactly how long this stage will take."