SCOTTISH NEWS: Glasgow riverside wins record grant

The largest grant ever approved by Scottish Enterprise is being ploughed into the regeneration of the River Clyde in Glasgow.

During the next seven years, £126 million will be spent on infrastructure and public transport along the waterfront. Efforts are being concentrated on six "character areas" - Tradeston and Broomielaw's new financial district, Pacific Quay, Glasgow Harbour, Braehead and Scotstoun, Clydebank and Erskine and Old Kilpatrick.

Schemes likely to benefit include a proposed bridge over the river at Tradeston, development of the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre site and a tram or light rail system planned for the waterfront. But the bulk of the money, which will be paid from April 2004, is yet to be allocated.

Scottish Enterprise director Jim McIntyre said the aim is to reconnect the waterfront with the adjoining urban areas. "It's a big, big investment," he added. "The largest investment will be in physical projects, from river engineering to public realm work and derelict land reuse.

"It will be done in partnership with local councils and the Scottish Executive. Primarily, it's about connectivity. We are trying to reconnect the river to the core economy. But there's also social connectivity, helping people into work."

All the public agencies hope that the grant will generate several times as much in private and European funding. It is estimated that £4 billion needs to be spent over the next 15 years to complete the project and create up to 33,000 jobs.

A project partnership board comprising enterprise officials and representatives from Glasgow, Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire Councils is being established to discuss issues arising from the project.

A Glasgow City Council spokesman welcomed the funding announcement. "We are delighted that Scottish Enterprise is giving funding that is similar to the investment made and planned by the city council," he said.

In a separate development, Strathclyde Passenger Transport has called for a road tunnel to be built under the river to ease traffic congestion and speed up the regeneration of the waterfront.

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