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Lack of transparency from Stirling Council condemned by local residents and representatives.

The demolition of the historic Christie Clock on Friday 1st September was met by outrage from Stirling residents. Carried out at night, the council’s actions were caught on video by locals, prompting many to demand answers over the lack of care taken in handling such an important historic monument.

Following the demolition local residents and Evelyn Tweed MSP wrote to the Council to seek clarification of the circumstances surrounding the demolition of the Christie Clock. Many of those who contacted the Council expressed significant shock and upset at the sudden, unexpected demolition of the City Landmark.

Stirling City Heritage Trust issued a public statement which stated:

‘The Trustees and staff of Stirling City Heritage Trust were utterly shocked and dismayed to see the events of Friday 1 September 2023 when the historic Christie Clock was demolished. This was a structure listed by Historic Environment Scotland.

‘The Trust was involved in repair works to the Clock in 2006 when it offered a small grant for works to the masonry.

‘The Trustees have written to Stirling Council offering any support and advice as the Council proceeds with reinstatement of the structure. It is the full expectation of both staff and Trustees that there will be a full and faithful reinstatement of the clock, and we look forward to working with Stirling Council staff in the months ahead to achieve this.’

Evelyn Tweed MSP wrote to Stirling Council on the 4th of September and was advised on the 6th of September that her letter was being treated as a Freedom of Information Request by the Council with a response deadline of the 3rd of October. A further letter from the Council was then received on the 29th of September advising that this was no longer being treated as a FOI Request but was being treated as an Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations (EIRS) request which extended the Council’s response deadline by a further month to 31st October 2023.

Evelyn Tweed, MSP for Stirling shared the Council’s response online. She commented:

‘I was disappointed when Stirling Council treated my original enquiry as an FOI request, with a twenty-day deadline for a response. I have now received a response providing no answers but informing me that the inquiry is to be dealt with under the Environmental Information (Scotland) Regulations. This comes with another 20-day deadline attached which, beyond disappointing, is outrageous.

‘The Council made a mistake in demolishing the clock in the way that it did, and instead of owning up to their mistake, they are attempting to kick the issue into the long grass by using administrative loopholes to avoid providing answers. The people of Stirling deserve much more than this. I will continue to pursue answers and hold the council to account.’

Mike Watret, who works at Carlton Bingo in Stirling, also wrote to Stirling Council and on receiving a similar response said:

‘I’ve heard a number of our customers in the club expressing their own concerns about how this has been managed. This part of Stirling is a nice area for people to take time out of their day and have a seat by the fountain with the view of the clock, which is represented in vast numbers of documented photos of Port Street over the decades. It’s changed forever in my opinion.

‘There is no transparency here. Their failure to respond to a FOI request and hide behind legislation rather than releasing information requested by me on the basis that this is not in the public interest seems to indicate they are not in line with public sentiment here – and a real anger at what took place.’

Dozens of Stirling residents have taken to social media to express their dismay at both the demolition and the lack of answers from Stirling Council, with some describing their actions as ‘stalling tactics.’