THE SCOTTISH and Westminster Governments have been called on to provide financial backing to ensure proposals to redevelop the south end of Montrose remain viable.
Local councillor David May said he feared the plans could be shelved indefinitely after Angus Council revealed a £45million shortfall in its finances.
The SNP administration said that it would be faced with tough decisions over the next five years and that projects which had not already been agreed by the authority, such as the South Montrose masterplan, could be at risk of not going ahead under the existing financial programme.
A review of the south Montrose area highlighted regeneration opportunities which Angus Council claimed have the potential to significantly benefit the town and county.
Commissioned by the council and its partners GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Montrose Port Authority, Scottish Enterprise and TACTRAN (Tayside and Central Scotland Transport Partnership), the report focuses on the industrial area to the north of the harbour, between the South Esk bridge to GSK’s factory in Cobden Street. It includes opportunities for growth in the area including at the harbour, GSK itself through new product development and investment, support services for offshore renewable energy scheme and industry development to stimulate regeneration.
The project also has the potential to create construction industry jobs as well as 205 permanent jobs with collective annual salaries worth around £7.2 million.
Mr May said that although he recognises that the council is faced with difficult choices, he stressed that implementing the proposals would have major spin-offs for Angus.
He said: “The study is important to the town and Angus as a whole. The potential is considerable, particularly in terms of GSK and the harbour attracting new jobs and particularly in the renewables sector.
“I’m disappointed it’s not apparently going ahead but I recognise the problems faced by the council at the moment. It’s important to point out that this is an evolving capital plan and as such there are projects that might be changed over the next few years.”
He added that the council administration is “very conscious” of the importance of economic development to help move the country forward and he is keen to see the authority attract external funding to keep the scheme alive.
He said: “I’d call on the Scottish And Westminster Governments to consider an input in to south Montrose. We want to make best use of that area for employment and to attract renewables companies, and to do that it has to be improved. If we had government funding there would be private investment going in from various sources and I’m optimistic it will be kept in mind.”