A monument to Scots freedom fighter William Wallace is in the pipeline – at a cost of £3 million.
Mel Gibson in the 1995 blockbuster, Braveheart
The 30-foot statue of the Braveheart hero is hoped to attract thousands of tourists to a hill in Paisley, Renfrewshire.
The council has already spent £10,000 on a feasibility study for the ambitious plan, which would include a visitor centre and bronze sculptures of three other independence fighters.
The sculptor Sandy Stoddart, who would create the statue, Scotland’s first with Braveheart on horseback, said: “This would be a monument made for Paisley, by Paisley, in Paisley.
“It’s simply a grand commemoration of the fact that we, in this town, are in the heart of Wallace country.
“This town should be associated with valour, not squalor.”
But criticisms have been made of the cost of the project at Sauchel Hill, which, if it goes ahead would be partly paid for by a trust fund accepting donations from benefactors across the world.
Leading Labour politician Douglas Alexander, MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire, said SNP-led Renfrewshire Council should think again.
He said: “I’m a great admirer of Sandy Stoddart’s work but I think local people will be appalled that the council has used public money to look into building a monument to William Wallace instead of tackling the scourge of boarded-up buildings in Paisley town centre.
“I wish they had the same interest in public services that they have suddenly discovered in public art.”
The project would also include a statue of Sir Andrew Moray, who raised a rebellion in the north of Scotland in 1297.
Bronze statues of Bishop Robert Wishart and James the Fifth, High Steward of Scotland are planned to represent the church and aristocracy.
It is rumoured the two men met in Paisley while planning a rebellion with Wallace.
The name of nearby Canal Street rail station would be changed to Paisley Wallace Monument Station.
The architect in charge of the detailed plans, Jon Jewitt, said the William
Wallace could be as big as Gateshead’s Angel of the North.
The council is expected to make its decision in two months.