Tourism potential 'may be lost'
Fears Forth Bridge visitor plan will be shelved
Depute Fife Council leader, Lesley Laird, has called for a meeting with management at Network Rail to discuss the proposed projet but has so far failed to get a response.
Local business leaders have also voiced concerns that the potential of the bridge as a World Heritage Site could be left untapped.
They have called for a meeting with Network Rail’s chief executive, Mark Carne to discuss the situation.
Coun Laird said: “Despite stating that it recognises that the Forth Bridge is a hugely important asset for Scotland, Network Rail has failed to respond to our call for a meeting with its decision-makers. This is completely unacceptable considering the economic significance of this for Fife.
“The Bridge, its importance as a national and international tourist attraction, a sustainable mode of travel and as a historic landmark must not be undermined, and its contribution to Fife should not be side-lined.”
Fife Council and Fife businesses believe that the World Heritage inscription of the Forth Bridge has the potential to generate significant economic opportunities, particularly in the tourism sector.
“It is vital that the viewing platform and visitor centre are built to further attract visitors, increase employment and grow tourist spend in the Kingdom,” said Coun Laird.
“I called for action on establishing a multi-agency approach to ensure the timely delivery of the North Queensferry based visitor centre. So far, that request has been ignored.
“As a key stakeholder and partner in the inscription of the Bridge it is unthinkable that the business case for designs, for both north and south of the Forth, is not being shared and discussed with us at this stage.
The World Heritage inscribed Bridge provides a gateway to the north of Scotland, raising the profile of Fife as a destination.
Coun Laird said: “There are clear opportunities for tourism growth in North and South Queensferry, along with the potential to develop the Bridge as a visitor attraction. I am therefore urging Network Rail to do the decent thing and come and meet with us now.”