David Hastings, Chief Executive of Strathleven Regeneration, explains how Lomondgate, at the very western boundary of Clyde Waterfront territory, is making a vital contribution to regeneration, with a total of 1800 jobs forecast by 2019.
When the Clyde Waterfront project area was extended to include
Bowling and Dumbarton on the north bank of the River Clyde, the
expansion was announced under the banner from one river
city to another. This alluded to the fact that
the new project area included the Lomondgate development, home to
BBC Scotland's studios and River City set. Although the
announcement - in September 2008 - coincided with the financial
crisis and economic downturn, the Lomondgate development has since
gone from strength and been one of Clyde Waterfront's success
stories over that difficult period.
Over the past three years, advance infrastructure and structural
landscaping have been completed, Whitbread have developed a Premier
Inn hotel and the Malt & Myre pub/restaurant, two housebuilders
(Walker Group and Persimmon Homes) are on site, with a third
(Taylor Wimpey) having applied for planning consent.
Scotland's first drive-thru Costa Coffee is under construction and
will be complete in time to cater to the £20m state of the art
manufacturing facility being developed by Aggreko, the
Scottish-headquartered world leaders in temporary power
solutions. Together with the BBC Scotland studios, there is
now a critical mass of development and the vision of creating a new
living, leisure and business hub at a strategic gateway to Loch
Lomond & the Trossachs National Park is becoming a
reality. To April 2011 Lomondgate's impact on the region's
GVA is independently assessed as £113 million. It is forecast
that by 2019 Lomondgate will accommodate around 1800 jobs and will
have contributed £480 million of GVA.
Lomondgate is a regeneration response to a major closure.
In 2000, when the J&B whisky bottling plant closed with the
loss of 470 jobs, Strathleven Regeneration Company (SRC) was
established as a special purpose vehicle to facilitate regeneration
of the redundant plant and development of associated land. A
mix of seed funding and land transfers was provided by West
Dunbartonshire Council, Diageo and Scottish Enterprise. SRC
has also been supported by the local MSP and MP (John McFall MP -
now Lord McFall - chaired SRC for 11 years.) In 2004 SRC
entered into a Development Agreement with developers, Walker Group
(who acquired the former plant) and this partnership has been the
key to successful delivery. When the new Aggreko
manufacturing facility becomes fully operational in early 2012 a
significant milestone will be passed as there will then be more
jobs located at Lomondgate than existed in the J&B plant.
As the Scottish Government takes stock of regeneration strategy
in a new economy and with massive pressure on public finances, it
is worth noting that there is no public capital funding in the
Lomondgate development. It is an exemplar of resilient
partnerships across and between the public and private sectors and
confirms conventional wisdom that regeneration is a long-term
proposition. The ethos has been to optimise economic
additionality and maximise leverage through realising the potential
of a place while aligning with national economic development
strategy, in a commercial, market-led context. SRC (now a
community interest company) is an extremely lean, highly focused
operation with its reach extended through the partnership with the
Walker Group and through connectivity with the mainstream services
of economic development and regeneration bodies.
Until its inclusion in the extended Clyde Waterfront area,
Lomondgate did not enjoy any acknowledgement in national
regeneration policy or priority - the association with Clyde
Waterfront has given it some welcome recognition and each project
contributes to the other's success.
Strathleven Regeneration C.I.C.
29 August 2011