North Lanarkshire Council announce multi-million pound Ravenscraig investment

Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 12:31 BST on Thursday 28th June 2012.

North Lanarkshire Council have announced a multi-million pound investment to Ravenscraig.

North Lanarkshire Council’s Policy and Resources Committee has approved up to £10 million expenditure towards alterations to a railway bridge and acquiring land along the route of a proposed dual carriageway, targeting Scotland's biggest regeneration site

Policy and Resources Convener and Council Leader Jim McCabe said: “We have to take decisions now to ensure the work can be planned and a sound timescale developed.

“A lot has happened in the 20 years since Ravenscraig closed, some of it obvious, some less so.

He added: “Much of the land was heavily contaminated and had to be remediated, which took several years.”

The project, which will link the M8 motorway from Newhouse to Ravenscraig site, will allow the next stage of development of the former Ravenscraig steelworks site.

Councillor McCabe continued: “A sustainable plan had to be developed and partnerships formed to drive and develop the aim of creating a township.

“It's been estimated that somewhere in the region of £300million a year leaves North Lanarkshire to be spent elsewhere.

“It is vital to communities and businesses within the area that North Lanarkshire retain as much as possible within the area to help create employment and investment.”

In February 2011 North Lanarkshire Council submitted a £73million funding proposal to kick-start the next phase of the Ravenscraig township development.

The finance would be raised under a scheme known as Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) which allows money to be borrowed against future business rates income.

Provisional approval was granted a month later, subject to the development and submission of a business case and financial model.

Final approval is expected to leverage up to £425million of private investment, create up to 4,500 permanent posts and 500 jobs during construction of the new town centre.

The committee's decision, which will go before the full council at its next meeting on Thursday, 5th July, means £5million will be allocated towards tunnelling through a railway embankment and extending a bridge on the A723 between Holytown and Carfin and a further £5million allocated to secure small parcels of land along the A723 required for road widening.

North Lanarkshire Council Executive Director Environmental Services Paul Jukes said: “There is an element of risk for the council in committing the £10million, but we believe it is necessary.

“At worst, were the TIF not to go ahead, we would own the land necessary to upgrade the roads corridor at some time in the future.

“If the TIF does get the go ahead, but rates income to finance the scheme falls short, the area would still benefit from a strategically important roads link.

“However, this is a 30 year plan and we believe the risks are minimal and, such as they are, worth taking.

“To do nothing with such a large site is simply not an option.”