Well-known sculptures are due to return to Picardy Place in January, as the lengthy roadworks in the area are set to be “substantially complete” by the end of 2019.

The bronze foot, hand and ankle were moved from the site in December 2017 ahead of work on the St James Centre and the major junction which connects Leith Walk to the city centre.

Now the artwork, known as “The Manuscript of Monte Cassino” by the sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, will soon be moved back in front of St Mary’s Cathedral.

A report going before Edinburgh city council’s Transport and Environment Committee says the majority of the works “will be substantially completed by the end of 2019.”

However the design of the central traffic island which will replace the current roundabout will take longer to finish.

The report says the St James centre is on track to open in October 2020 as originally planned.

Building work for the new tram line means the new central island at Picardy Place will be used as a compound for the contractors.

Temporary pavements and cycle paths will be put in place to allow people to move through the area.

Paolozzi’s sculptures were gifted to the city by the businessman Sir Tom Farmer. The artwork explores the horrific nature of war and refers to the battle of Monte Cassino, a devastating clash in 1944.

Stones from the old Leith Central Station are also due to be returned to the site in January.

The council report said: “On the 21 March 2019, the detailed location of the Paolozzi Sculptures was discussed with Sir Tom Farmer, who gifted the sculptures to the city, and the Paolozzi Foundation.

“Their locations were influenced by the physical constraints of the site and the proximity of St Mary’s Cathedral steps .

“The Paolozzi Sculptures and the Leith Central Station Stones are due to be returned to Picardy Place in January 2020.”

The sculptures are currently housed in Hillside Crescent Gardens.

A consultation on the final design for the central traffic island is due to be held next year, but work could continue until Spring 2023 to build a new tram stop at Picardy Place.

Options include a paved concourse or a covered area which would be used for markets or events.

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