Steeple project nears completion

Picture: Michael Gillen
Picture: Michael Gillen

Contractors are closing in on a deadline to complete restoration work on Falkirk’s most famous landmark before the end of March.

The ambitious project to give Falkirk Steeple a £750,000 makeover has fallen months behind schedule.

It stepped up a gear last August after the job of erecting scaffolding around the 140-foot high tower in the town’s High Street allowed the main work to start.

Plans that included carrying out repairs to the stonework, clock faces and mechanism - and taking down the iconic ‘golden eye’ cockerel weather vane for a well-deserved clean-up – had been expected to be finished before Christmas.

But, while the cockerel was back in its rightful place by last October, hopes the Steeple itself, which will be 203 years old this September, would once again be dominating the skyline in good time for December 25 without poles and boards interfering with the view proved to be a bit ambitious!

The delay has been caused by Falkirk Council asking for extra work to be done.

A spokesperson explained: “There has been some additional repairs works to the stonework pointing that we asked the contractor to revisit and, as soon as they are completed, the scaffolding will come down.

“Two small delays impacting on the project programme were firstly, at the outset, agreeing the complexity of the scaffolding engineering, and secondly, during the contract, the rejection of replacement stone delivered on site requiring further cutting and the supply of additional quality stone all sourced from the local quarry where the original Steeple stone originated from.

“The contract is now nearing completion with all works expected to be finished in the next couple of weeks.”

Restoration and conservation of the A-listed Steeple has involved repairs inside and out and been supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic Environment Scotland as part of the £5.6 million Townscape Heritage Initiative.