Director’s Blog – December 2019

Reflections on Five Years of the City Deal

With 2019 marking five years of the City Deal in operation, I wanted to reflect on how far we have come in that short time and how City Deal funding from the UK and Scottish Governments is already delivering social and economic transformation.   

Firstly, we are one of the largest City Deals in the UK – of which there are around 30 – and of course we are the most advanced.  

In fact, this month we welcomed colleagues from Cardiff City Deal who wanted to find out more about and learn from our performance to date.  

We are making great progress. Sixteen projects or sub projects are already completed and the vast majority of projects are underway.

Over £183 million has been spent to date and over £300 million of spend approved by the City Region Cabinet.  

City Region businesses have benefitted from a £50 million boost – the value of contracts won to date.

And of course we reached a significant milestone this month- with the submission of our first Gateway Review to the Scottish and UK Governments which vitally is set to release the next tranche of £250 million in funding.

Glasgow City Region is at the vanguard of regeneration in Scotland and the UK.

Earlier this year, The Planner magazine ran an extended six page feature on our City Deal showing how the Region is creating a platform for transformation, with a detailed overview of some key projects.

At Sighthill in Glasgow, the largest UK urban regeneration scheme of its type outside of London, City Deal investment is creating a new neighbourhood, re-connecting an area equivalent in size to 60 football pitches to the near-by city centre and opening up the north of the city for growth. Now with extensive remediation on site completed, enabling works are progressing new housing, utilities, public realm and road infrastructure.  Future developments include an iconic bridge over the M8 motorway and a brand new city park.  

Ravenscraig in North Lanarkshire was once one of Europe’s largest derelict sites. Our City Deal funded roads programme is supporting further extensive regeneration in the area, with an updated masterplan issued for 3,000 new homes, extensive office, industrial and retail space, schools, an extension to the Ravenscraig Regional Sports Facility and a new seven hectare town park.

Europe’s first ever Smart Canal will combine new technology with a 250 year old heritage asset to mitigate flood risk and unlock 110 hectares in north Glasgow for investment, regeneration and 3,000 new homes. The Smart Canal has already generated extensive media interest and is set to formally open early next year.

City Deal enabling works in Renfrewshire are the catalyst for the new Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland.  The district, is expected to put Renfrewshire at the heart of Scotland’s manufacturing industry, estimated to create up to 6,000 jobs and boost Scotland’s manufacturing sector by £535 million in GVA a year.

A new landmark building on the banks of the Clyde at Greenock is also planned to welcome cruise ship passengers at Inverclyde’s Greenock Ocean Terminal. The project will provide a new berthing facility and state of the art visitor centre to boost cruise ship passengers welcomed to Scotland through the Greenock facility operated by Peel Ports. This will support our Tourism Strategy ambition which we launched in 2018, to bring 1,000,000 more visitors to the City Region.

And planning permission has been given for the first opening road bridge over the River Clyde through the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project which is set to create more than 2,300 jobs and inject £867 million into the Regional economy.  Progress continued on Glasgow’s £115 million Avenues project, with the completion of the Sauchiehall Avenue pilot this year. The project will transform the city centre and make it more attractive, people-friendly and economically competitive.

City Deal funding for improved connectivity and remediation is already unlocking land in key locations for private development and importantly generating substantial follow on investment.

The new Barclays Hub, one of the largest inward investments ever in Glasgow, was realised thanks to extensive City Deal remediation on Glasgow’s riverfront. Thousands of new mixed tenure homes are also coming through across the Region on the back of City Deal projects. At Sighthill, a private developer agreement will deliver hundreds of private and mid-market rental homes. At South Lanarkshire’s Newton Community Growth Area, completed projects for a Park and Ride and Newton Farm Primary School, are improving transport connectivity and consequently have supported further private sector house building in the area. At Barrhead in East Renfrewshire, ten new commercial units have been developed and an adjacent vacant 17-acre site remediated and prepared for private sector investment.

And the City Region’s three developing Innovation Districts are all underpinned by City Deal investment and will be truly transformational.

All three Employment and Skills projects completed in the period and build has been completed for all three Innovation projects which are now realising their benefits. These projects have supported thousands of people into work. And our Innovation projects continue to support local businesses and have generated over £10 million in private investment. A new Regional Skills Development Plan was launched in June 2019 and this sets out a number of ambitious actions to ensure the workforce is in place to deliver our City Deal projects and to reduce labour market inequalities and in-work poverty.

We are proud of what we have collectively achieved and we look with confidence towards the next five years and to building on these strong foundations, accelerating our ambitions to grow our economy and create further and better life opportunities for our residents.

Kevin Rush, Director of Regional Economic Growth