Councillors approved the Strategic Business Cases for two City Deal projects, marking the official start of City Deal investment in Renfrewshire.
This decision is the first stage in developing the detailed plans which will eventually lead to an investment of £129million funding for major transport and regeneration projects in Renfrewshire. When delivered, the projects will contribute to increased work opportunities and help attract investment to Renfrewshire. They will also boost Renfrewshire’s role in the regional economy.
Work will start first on an extensive new network of roads, paths and a bridge will link up the new Glasgow Airport Investment Area. The second project will deliver a new Clyde bridge and associated roads that will connect Renfrew to Yoker.
Both projects are part of the £1.13billion Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal and are expected to unlock Renfrewshire’s immense economic potential by improving the connections between key business sites, residential areas, and the wider transport network. They will raise Renfrewshire’s profile and place it at the centre of the region’s growth.
New links at Renfrew Riverside
The £78million Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project will build a new ‘opening’ bridge across the Clyde to create an important connection between the communities on either side of the river and stimulate the development of vacant land in the area. It will also reduce traffic in Renfrew Town Centre and support the further development of Braehead’s shopping and leisure facilities.
This project will generate jobs and, by integrating Renfrewshire more closely into the regional transport network, open the area to new opportunities and a more prominent role in the regional economy.
Councillor Mark Macmillan, Leader of Renfrewshire Council said: “This new bridge will bring tangible benefits across Renfrewshire. It is also a symbol of change and of our newly pivotal role in the regional economy.”
Airport Investment Area takes off
Councillors also approved plans to develop the Glasgow Airport Investment Area. The infrastructure investment around Glasgow Airport will link the Westway, Inchinnan and Airport Business Parks and create further connections with Paisley and Renfrew Town Centres and with the University of the West of Scotland Campus.
The £51million project will build roads, cycle routes and a bridge to pull Renfrewshire’s diverse economic assets together and open up unused land for development. The Airport Investment Area will offer businesses a unique mix of air, sea and land transport options; access to research, development and academic resources; and proximity to a workforce already renowned for its skills and drive. It is expected to generate jobs by supporting – and attracting – growing businesses.
Councillor Macmillan said: “The Airport Investment Area will be a truly modern business location with a vital role in the region’s economic growth. The new infrastructure will join up Renfrewshire’s strengths to create a varied, dynamic and integrated power house where innovation and enterprise can flourish.”
Renfrewshire’s economy will also benefit hugely from the City Deal’s Airport Access Project. This will create a link between Glasgow Central Station, Paisley and the airport. Engineers are currently examining options to identify the best route and solutions for this link.
Ross Nimmo, Glasgow Airport’s Planning and Development Manager, said: “Glasgow Airport’s success will play a major part in the region’s future growth. The Airport Investment Area and improved transport links will enhance that success and develop a unique and integrated business location.”
Councillor Macmillan added: “We know that the airport is vital to Renfrewshire’s economy and we cannot overestimate the importance of the Investment Area and the Access Project to our future. Renfrewshire is already rich in industrial assets, inventiveness, skills and energy. The new infrastructure will connect these strengths, help realise our potential and benefit all our communities for generations to come.”
Widening horizons for all our communities
City Deal investment will bring a step change in the area’s economic fortunes and Mark Macmillan believes that Renfrewshire deserves the opportunities it will create: “For generations, Renfrewshire’s people have been innovative, enterprising and hard working. The new infrastructure will connect and combine what we have already created. This is our chance to capitalise on our talents and take our well-earned place in the wider economy.”
The opportunities that the City Deal offers will build upon Renfrewshire’s ongoing regeneration success. The Council Leader said: “Our business support and employability programme, Invest in Renfrewshire, is in its third year. It has helped more than 750 local businesses to grow, generated work and training opportunities for 857 local people and helped almost 2,000 other people to find jobs. All this has been done as a partnership between the business community and the council and its success is an example of Renfrewshire’s local talent, pride and community strength. These are the qualities that will equip us to make the most of the City Deal.”
The Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal includes eight council areas with a total population of 1.75 million. Renfrewshire, with a population of 175,000, is receiving a 24.2% slice of total City Deal funding. The scale and nature of these infrastructure projects will open the whole area to new opportunities. Mark Macmillan said: “Renfrewshire is getting a big share of City Deal funding because we have strong assets and capacity for growth. It is also an indication of the important role that we will play in the region’s economic future.”
Bob Davidson, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, says: “The City Deal brings huge opportunities for businesses in Renfrewshire. At the Chamber, we will do everything we can to help make sure local businesses know what’s needed to get a share of these opportunities during its construction phase and beyond as its wider economic benefits emerge.”
All three City Deal projects will add impetus and value to Paisley’s regeneration. Already, plans to use the town’s impressive industrial and cultural heritage to transform its economic fortunes are gaining ground. Mark Macmillan said: “Paisley’s regeneration is reminding local people – and the wider world – what a great place this is. We already welcome increasing numbers of people to enjoy our history, architecture, cultural activities and events. While the City Deal infrastructures will make it easier for more people to visit Paisley, they will want to do so because our history is unique, our heritage spectacular and our values authentic.”
Work will start on the Renfrew Riverside project in 2018 and on the Airport Investment Area 2017. Both projects will create jobs and business prospects during their construction. Vitally, Renfrewshire’s ongoing regeneration success will ensure that the area can benefit extensively from City Deal’s longer term opportunities.