Govan shares regeneration funding

08 Jul 2009

by Helen McArdle and Sarah Swain, The Herald

Nearly 50 towns across Scotland are to share in a £40m windfall aimed at creating jobs, reviving communities and delivering a much-needed boost to town centres struggling during the economic downturn.

The cash was allocated to a series of projects yesterday in the first round of awards made from the Scottish Government's Town Centre Regeneration Fund, which opened for applications in April. A further £20m will be distributed later this year.

Some 48 towns will benefit from their share of the money, which is being targeted towards redeveloping run-down shopping, business and leisure facilities. It is estimated the projects will also help sustain around 640 jobs. Announcing the funding allocations, Housing Minister Alex Neil said: "Town centres are key to our economic and social prosperity. They are centres of employment and services for local communities. Our aim is to turn round the fortunes of town centres - to help them reach their full potential and support local economies.

"This funding encourages and supports dynamic public and private sector organisations to do that. This is part of our wider economic recovery plan and we will continue to use every lever at our disposal to ensure Scotland gets through the economic downturn in the strongest possible position."

A number of town centre housing projects will also be kick-started by the money, with transport links and

Glasgow was the biggest winner, scooping £5.05m which will be split among three projects. The victory comes after a campaign by The Herald's sister paper, the Evening Times, calling for communities within the city to have the same right to apply for funding as small towns.

As a result, three areas are now set to benefit. Local regeneration agency Clyde Gateway won £1.95m to buy and overhaul the B-listed former cinema in Bridgeton, the Olympia. Chief executive Ian Manson said it was "the best news since the Commonwealth Games announcement".

The buidling could be turned into a sports facility or office space for local businesses and services.

Maryhill will receive £1.8m towards renovating the Burgh Halls with a public hall, cafe, nursery, recording studio, offices and gardens part of the plans.

Across the Clyde, a project in Govan will receive £1.3m to help revive the former shipbuilding hub, with the some of the cash going towards repairing the dilapidated Pearce Institute. There is also a plan to re-pave the area, in a similar in style to the Merchant City.

A project to bring new life to Paisley town centre will receive £1.8m.

Traditional seaside resorts in North Ayrshire will benefit from an £1.8m cash injection, with the lion's share going to building regeneration projects run by Irvine Bay Developments in Ardrossan and Saltcoats and a further £398,000 scooped by Millport to boost business, arts and cultural services.

North Lanarkshire was another big winner, with a £2.75m award to revitalise ailing town centres in Airdrie, Bellshill, Coatbridge, Cumbernauld, Kilsyth, Motherwell and Wishaw.

Councillor Tom Maginnis, the convenor of regeneration services, said the funding was "welcome news at a time when the economic downturn is creating a real challenge for North Lanarkshire's town centres and high streets".

He added that local people would see "tangible results very quickly", given the stipulation that the cash must be spent within the current financial year.

Fife Council secured £3.75m to fund makeovers of Kirkcaldy town centre and the Lochgelly Business Centre. Tony Martin, chair of the environment, enterprise and transportation committee said he was "delighted".

He added: "This is fantastic news for Kirkcaldy and Lochgelly. Outside of Glasgow, Fife has secured the largest allocation of funding. Specific details on how the grants will be spent will follow but what is certain is that this money will help to make significant social, economic and commercial improvements to both towns." Other pay-outs include more than £320,000 to Friends of the Birk Cinema, who plan to refurbish the old cinema in Aberfeldy and add a cafe and concert venue. Also in Perth and Kinross, the Blairgowrie and Rattray Regeneration company were allocated £1.5m to set up a hydro-electric power station.

They plan to export electricity on to the national grid, recouping an estimated £100,000 a year which they can reinvest in development projects in the area.

Produced with the permission of the Herald & Times Group.


  • Govan Cross and the Pearce Institute

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