Tens of thousands of pounds will be spent on breathing new life into the area surrounding the Wallace Monument in Elderslie.

A total of £43,000 will be spent on soft landscaping works in the vicinity of the structure, including shrub and bulb planting, tree works and the creation of “more formal” grass areas for community events.

The cash injection was agreed at the economy and regeneration policy board on Tuesday, with convener Andy Steel describing the plans as a “good first step”.

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The Gazette:

Councillor Steel, an SNP representative for Johnstone South and Elderslie, said: “Securing this funding is a great outcome and thanks go to Elderslie Community Council and the Wallace Society for their very positive input.

“The plan has been developed since officers came out on a site visit with me on March 21 of last year, but work began long before that.

“Former councillor Stephen McGee, who represented the area for the SNP immediately before myself, advised me to really push this as a means to drive tourism in the area and beyond and that’s what I’ve been doing. Much of the credit for this must go to him.

“Work really started before lockdown by making sure the monument is integrated into Visit Scotland’s Wallace offering worldwide, but there was no doubt that the physical area needs upgraded so that visitors have a positive experience when they get here.

“With plans for new shrub and bulb planting, tree works and areas of wildflower meadow supporting local biodiversity, alongside more formal grass areas as a space for local community events, this is a good first step in that direction.

“More will need done, especially on the monument itself, but I know other councillors are working on that – with cross-party support – and where there’s a will, there’s a way.”

The monument celebrates the ‘Guardian of Scotland’ – a hero to many Scots for his feats in battle during the Scottish Wars of Independence – in the village where he is thought to have been born.

The work is expected to be completed in the summer.