THE first projects approved under the £1 billion-plus package to boost the west of Scotland economy are to be given the green light.

An initial £12 million will be invested across the Glasgow metropolitan area as part of the City Deal scheme, announced last summer by the Westminster and Scottish governments.

The City Deal cabinet, made up of eight councils in the west of the country, is expected to approve the projects today, with work set to get under way within the month.

Amongst the projects is a new slip road off the M77, with the area set to see 1,000 houses built over the coming years and become one of the major growth areas in East Renfrewshire.

The business cases approved also include work on public realm improvements in Glasgow city centre, boosting the area around Glasgow Airport as a business destination, and other major infrastructure schemes.

East Renfrewshire also said the funding would support a new destination water sports facility at its Dams to Darnley Country Park, which has been developed along its border with Glasgow across the last decade.

Plans include a Wave Park Centre offering wakeboarding, the fastest-growing extreme sport in the world, facilities for open water swimming, triathlon events and canoeing, with a scheduled opening date some time in 2017.

Gordon Matheson, chairman of the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal Cabinet, said: “The decision by the Cabinet to approve these business cases signals the first stage in delivering projects which will transform the Clyde Valley’s economy.

"These exciting City Deal schemes will greatly improve our infrastructure, making the area even more attractive to investors and developers and will bring thousands of jobs.”

The City Deal aims to bring tens of thousands of jobs to Glasgow and the Clyde Valley over the next few decades through 20 major infrastructure projects, growing key sectors such as life sciences and addressing challenges in the region’s labour market.

Both the UK and Scottish Governments will give the Glasgow and Clyde Valley local authorities £500m each in grant funding for the City Deal, and the local authorities will borrow a further £130m to use for capital investment.

Longer terms plans for Glasgow via the City Deal include developing a cultural and creative hub at Spiers Lock and Port Dundas, just north of the M8, improvements around the inner east end close to Strathclyde University, a new bridge connecting Govan at Water Row and Partick, and a pedestrian cycle route between the new hospital campus, Govan, Pacific Quay and the city centre.

The city centre work will include resurfacing streets and pavements, the creation of avenues of trees, segregated cycle lanes and reductions in traffic.

Source: Herald Scotland

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