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Published 26 June 2020

Plans to transform a 150-acre site in Bowling have taken another step forward after an agreement to transfer the land’s ownership to West Dunbartonshire Council.

The former Exxon site is currently undergoing extensive remediation to prepare it to be used for a £34million project to create a major industrial and commercial development.

The project, part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal, also proposes the land be used to introduce a new road which would provide an alternative route in and out of West Dunbartonshire.

At a meeting of West Dunbartonshire Council last night, members were asked to consider a commercial deal with current owners ExxonMobil, and following discussion, gave officers approval to progress the transfer.

As part of the agreement, the Council will take on ownership of the whole site, running from Eastfield near Scotts Yard at Bowling Harbour, to Westfield and Sheepfold at Glasgow Road, Milton without cost.

Of the 150 acres, 45 acres will be developable land, and a further 2 acres will be used for the proposed new road. 

In addition,  the Council will receive £1million from ExxonMobil.

All land will be remediated by Exxon Mobil to standards agreed by the Council’s Environmental Health team and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), with their strategy approved by Planning Committee last year.

Following the transfer of ownership, the Council will undertake its own development works.

The transfer of ownership follows an application for Planning Permission in Principle for the project made on behalf of the Council last month.

It details proposals to locate office and industrial development in Eastfield, business in Centrefield and storage and distribution in the Westfield areas.

The application also describes plans for landscaping, open space, green corridors and public spaces as well as a new 1.95km link road with upgraded A82 and A814 access junctions alongside a railway underpass and overbridge.

A heritage area identified around Dunglass Castle and a protection zone is included in the application to ensure the listed structure and its setting are not compromised as the site develops and evolves.

Council officers will now begin negotiations with surrounding landowners regarding the transfer of their land ownership to enable the wider development.

Councillor Iain McLaren, Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, said: “This is a significant step forward in what is likely to be one of the biggest infrastructure improvements in West Dunbartonshire’s history.

“This site is an excellent location for commercial use and with its introduction expected to support up to 690 full-time jobs, it a really positive proposal for our area.

“I am pleased to see this ambitious project continue to progress.”

Councillor Marie McNair, Vice Convener of Infrastructure, Regeneration and Economic Development, added: “This project will bring about real change for the area, not only by supporting extra jobs but by adding the much-needed alternative road route in and out of the area.”

The Glasgow City Region City Deal is an agreement between the UK Government, the Scottish Government and eight Local Authorities across Glasgow and the Clyde Valley.

UK Government Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart said: “This is a welcome step forward for the Bowling site project.

“It’s vital that as our economy re-opens we continue to progress essential projects like this to attract new businesses to the area and create jobs.

“I am pleased the UK Government is supporting this project through its £523 million investment in the Glasgow City Region Deal.

“The UK Government has committed over £1.4 billion to city and growth deals across Scotland, promoting opportunities, creating jobs and attracting further investment.”

Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “I am pleased that West Dunbartonshire Council has taken on ownership of this site, helping to pave the way for a £34 million project that will deliver vital jobs.

“This project, supported by the Scottish Government’s overall commitment of £500 million to the Glasgow City Region Deal’s Infrastructure Investment Programme, is a welcome step forward during these uncertain times and will be crucial for Scotland’s economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.”