£70m regeneration plan
AN ambitious £70 million plan to revitalise and regenerate key areas of Inverclyde has been put to a senior government figure in a bid to attract vital funding.
Inverclyde Council leader Stephen McCabe and Stuart McMillan Greenock and Inverclyde Constituency MSP, in their roles as co-chairs of the Inverclyde Socio-economic Taskforce, have appealed directly to Scottish Government minister Richard Lochhead MSP for funding to help get a number of projects off the ground to boost the area and the local economy.
Mr Lochhead, the minister for small business, innovation, tourism and trade, has been given details about eight key projects identified by the taskforce as priorities to regenerate the area and improve business opportunities, housing and skills.
The taskforce was the suggestion of former cabinet secretary for finance, Kate Forbes MSP, and was established by the council to bring together both governments and other key stakeholders to explore opportunities for inward investment to improve the area and make it a better place to live, work, visit, and do business.
Both governments have ministerial involvement in the taskforce.
In their joint letter, Cllr McCabe and Mr McMillan have outlined ‘ambitious but very much achievable’ projects that would deliver ‘meaningful change’.
Proposals that have been tabled include additional funding to redevelop the Clune Park housing estate which is earmarked for regeneration, financial help to build more industrial and business units to complement existing facilities and deal with increased demand, support for Inverclyde to become a special economic investment zone to reduce business rates and stimulate growth.
In their letter, the co-chairs said: “The potential for this area is significant and with the correct support and investment Inverclyde could deliver meaningful change for the benefit of residents and businesses and align with our shared goals of making Inverclyde an even better place to live, work, do business, and visit.
“The projects were developed through the Inverclyde Socio-Economic Taskforce, they are ambitious but very much achievable with the correct support and investment.”
Councillor McCabe said: “The taskforce was established at the request of the then Cabinet Secretary for Finance and the Economy, Kate Forbes, to consider how the Scottish Government might assist Inverclyde address the economic and social challenges we face.
“The expectation was that the government would look at funding proposals developed by the taskforce through existing funding streams rather than create a specific fund for Inverclyde.
“We are now looking to the Scottish Government to back the taskforce by providing funding for the projects we have identified.”
Information was sent at the request of Scottish Government officials who had requested greater details on the taskforce proposals.
Mr McMillan said: “Inverclyde is a fantastic place to live but we have some long standing and deep-rooted challenges.
“The socio-economic taskforce has established many opportunities to help turn round Inverclyde’s fortunes. The various projects suggested are not an exhaustive list, but they are ambitious and deliverable and would provide lasting change for Inverclyde residents and businesses. They would also make Inverclyde a more attractive place to live and invest.
“Inverclyde can be a thriving community once again. It just needs the support to get it to that point and these projects can help deliver that.”
The letter to Minister Lochhead is as follows:
Further to the Inverclyde Taskforce on 26th June Scottish Government officials have requested that Inverclyde Council articulate the ask to government. Following extensive research from the Fraser of Allander Institute, the City Region Intelligence Hub and Arneil Johnstone and feedback from local business various investment opportunities are outlined below. The investments will support the socio-economic regeneration of the area.
The potential for this area is significant and with the correct support and investment Inverclyde could deliver meaningful change for the benefit of residents and businesses and align with our shared goals of making Inverclyde an even better place to live, work, do business, and visit.
The projects were developed through the Inverclyde Socio-Economic Taskforce, they are ambitious but very much achievable with the correct support and investment.
Project 1 - Kelburn Industrial Estate is an industrial/commercial development in the east of the Local Authority area which is adjacent to the A8. Originally developed by urban regeneration company Riverside Inverclyde, we are seeking to expand these facilities as the current provision is full. RI can borrow £5 million, however require a further £3 million additional funding to deliver a 55,000ft2 solution.
Project 2 - Port Glasgow Industrial Estate suffers from legacy buildings from the 1960–70s era. Their redundant nature makes them attractive for anti-social uses. We are seeking to demolish the central core of the area and provide alternative modern purpose facilities to make Port Glasgow an attractive proposition. We are seeking investment to the value of £22 million.
Project 1 - To ensure that the east/west displacement is not further exacerbated. Providing fiscal policy to afford Inverclyde business rate tax reduction in line with the GCR Investment Zone applicable to our industrial estates.
Project 2 - To expedite efficient traffic movement within the Inverclyde area we would seek to support Transport Scotland in the installation of a MOVA type traffic light solution for the main A8 trunk road, the cost of this is estimated at £500,000-£750,000.
Project 1 - The Council has aspired to address the standard of housing within Clune Park for considerable time. The Council is seeking the allocation of funds to afford a successful development which will include the construction of 80-100 mid-market rent homes. The anticipated cost on top of the acquisition costs is estimated to be £16m.
Project 2 - Port Glasgow Lower Quarter. A potential levelling up partnership approach to regenerate a section of Port Glasgow Town Centre. Following acquisition of redundant premises, the project seeks to regenerate the area through investment in civic, housing and business premises creation - £25 million.
Project 1 - The economically inactive count for Inverclyde remains stubbornly around 10,500 people. This pilot project would seek to physically engage with this cohort and attempt bring them towards the labour market - £1 million.
Project 2 - In work training to upskill through training options the attributes of the workforce 100 participants £500,000.
We trust that the information provided above proves useful to you and your team and would be happy to discuss these in greater detail should you require. As previously offered we are happy to facilitate a visit to Inverclyde so you can see firsthand the potential of the area and some of the unique challenges. We have copied this letter to your colleagues in the UK Government.
We look forward to hearing from you at the earliest opportunity.
Councillor Stephen McCabe Stuart McMillan MSP
Leader of the Council Greenock and Inverclyde Constituency