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Friday, January 9, 1998 Published at 12:26 GMT



UK: Politics

Dewar chooses Holyrood
image: [ Donald Dewar unveils the site for the Scottish Parliament ]
Donald Dewar unveils the site for the Scottish Parliament

The Scottish Secretary, Donald Dewar, has announced that Holyrood will be the home of the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Dewar plumped for the historic site after three months of deliberation. The new Scottish Parliament is expected to be built opposite the royal residence at Holyrood.


[ image: A brewery is currently on the site but by 1999 it will be the Scottish Parliament]
A brewery is currently on the site but by 1999 it will be the Scottish Parliament
The Palace of Holyroodhouse and the Parliament would be just a stone's throw from each other, both lying in the dramatic shadow of the Salisbury Crags and close to the peace of the scenic Holyrood Park.

Mr Dewar made the announcement on the siting of the Parliament at a news conference at the Scottish Office. He said that Holyrood was the best choice for Scotland.


Donald Dewar explains why he chose Holyrood (2' 02")
"The conversion of an existing building would have to be a compromise. There would be no visable symbol of the new Parliament and it would lack the operational efficiency of a new building."

When the Holyrood site became available from brewers Scottish & Newcastle at the eleventh hour, it quickly became the favourite over the three other hopefuls - Calton Hill, Leith and Haymarket.

It was the head office for the brewers but they plan to move out by early 1999, leaving the way open for the Parliament to be built. Civil servants will also have to find a temporary home for the Parliament as the first elections will have been held two years before the construction work is completed in 2001.


[ image: The Parliament will be close to the Queen's residence in Edinburgh]
The Parliament will be close to the Queen's residence in Edinburgh
And the state-of-the-art building that is expected to be constructed to house the Scottish MPs will be in direct contrast to the ornamental towers of Holyrood Palace.

It is believed that Holyrood has been chosen because it offered the chance to create a new building on a clear site and was a central location with a great historical significance.

The site at Holyrood takes up four acres and the Scottish Office snapped it up for a reported price of £1m.

An architectural competition will be held to decide the look of Scotland's new £50m Parliament, but it could have architects scratching their heads as somehow they will have to incorporate the listed building, Queensberry House Hospital which has stood on the site since the 18th century.

Other tenements on the site will also have to be demolished, but as yet there has been no announcement on what will happen to the owners and tenants currently living there.






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