A transport project improving links between Paisley town centre and Scotland’s manufacturing innovation district AMIDS has secured almost £40million in Levelling Up Funding.

Renfrewshire Council’s AMIDS South project, which includes a 1.7km ‘gateway route’ along the White Cart river, has received £38.7million from the UK Government Levelling Up Fund.

That is the third highest award of all the UK-wide projects being supported in the first round of the fund confirmed by the Chancellor during his UK budget announcement on Wednesday.

This will provide around 90% of the funding for the project to develop a network of road, cycling and walking links from the town centre train station and bus interchange to Glasgow Airport, AMIDS and onto Inchinnan.

It will also strengthen the links to the significant investment well underway in Paisley town centre cultural venues, which includes a £42million transformation of Paisley Museum and the £22million refurbishment of the town’s A-listed Town Hall, as well as a new learning and cultural hub on the High Street.

Economic projections found the project could bolster the local economy by an additional £136million and cut carbon emissions by 21,700 tonnes while help existing and new companies to grow, creating new job opportunities for years to come.

The gateway route from Paisley town centre along Abercorn Street, Harbour Road and Inchinnan Road to Glasgow Airport and the manufacturing district AMIDS includes new cycle routes and landscaping as well as a bridge crossing at Paisley Harbour for pedestrians, cyclists and road traffic.

Also included in the brief is an east-west road link from Renfrew Road joining onto the new route, increasing connectivity to the manufacturing district and improving accessibility to the proposed new Paisley Grammar community campus, West College Scotland and Gallowhill area as well as the new Scottish Leather Group factory and many other businesses in the Abercorn area.

And traffic calming works on Love Street will improve the environment for local residents and pedestrians, the area benefiting from a reduction in traffic flow due to the new routes.

Funding will also enable improved walking and cycling on Greenock Road between Inchinnan Business Park and AMIDS.

Renfrewshire Council Leader Iain Nicolson said: “Development of Scotland’s manufacturing innovation district AMIDS is a huge coup for Renfrewshire, attracting many new jobs and opportunities and it’s vital that we ensure the infrastructure is in place which enables residents in the surrounding areas to be able to access these jobs.

“This project does just that, better connecting communities to education and employment, enabling economic growth, helping to cut congestion and supporting our commitment for Renfrewshire to be carbon neutral by 2030.

“Clearly, our bid to the Levelling Up fund put forward a compelling case, backed by business, enterprise and education leaders from across Renfrewshire and I’m pleased that we can now progress it and ensure it delivers for our communities.”

Levelling Up fund bids required the support of the constituency MP for the area, and Gavin Newlands MP, said: “This additional funding for the AMIDS South project is welcome and having supported this bid I am now keen to see this project delivered as soon as possible.

“The vision shown by Renfrewshire Council and Scottish Enterprise in developing AMIDS is reaping real rewards for Paisley and Renfrewshire and boosting our local economy through the kind of high-skill, high-value jobs that will drive innovation for the future.

“Combined with the transformational increase in active travel spend recently announced by the Scottish Government, it’s clear Renfrewshire is playing its part in the transition to a net zero society – a world-leading objective in the run up to COP 26 in Glasgow.”

The Council’s bid included letters of support from local businesses, with the infrastructure complementing other works being progressed including an active travel route between Paisley and Renfrew and the Glasgow City Region City Deal funded project building an opening road bridge over the River Clyde at Renfrew.

Bob Grant, Chief Executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Renfrewshire is open for business and is bouncing back from the huge impact of the Coronavirus pandemic. Investment in infrastructure at this scale highlights how something special is happening here and we look forward to the inclusive growth and boost it brings to our local economy.”

Liz Connolly, Principal and Chief Executive of West College Scotland, said: “We are working on plans to develop our Paisley campus and these new transport links will bring great benefits to our students and to the local community accessing our facilities. Having the advanced manufacturing district nearby offers fantastic opportunities for our young people to develop their skills here and it’s pleasing that everyone will have greater choice to walk and cycle to their studies.”