£70m regeneration plan for Inverclyde put to minister

£70m regeneration plan for Inverclyde put to minister

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 can be read here.

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