With the consultation on Inverclyde Council’s new Local Development Plan (LDP) closing this Friday, local MSP Stuart McMillan has today sent in his submission to the consultation. Welcoming much of the LDP, Stuart has offered constructive feedback, while highlighting areas he feels should be of greater or lesser priority. Click here to view my submission.
Speaking after submitting his consultation response, Stuart said:
“There is much to welcome in the LDP. It is no easy task pulling together such a detailed document which is the plan Inverclyde will follow for the next 5 years. Those involved in the LDP should be commended.
“Having a consultation period is crucial as it allows people removed from drawing up the plan to review it and share their thoughts. My comments are given in a constructive manner and ultimately to enhance the plan.
“One constructive suggestion is to invest in our roads, rail and public transport and attract people to Inverclyde in the knowledge they can get to and from the area and travel within the area with ease. I would like to see a park and ride facility be introduced at the Spango Valley site to help provide the transport node as mentioned in this plan which would utilise a new timetable and increased services from IBM Halt.
At present, driving from Wemyss Bay to Port Glasgow at peak times is not for the easily irritated. We need to increase the frequency of trains on the Wemyss Bay line for existing residents but also people thinking of moving to the west of Inverclyde, or they will be put off by the one train per hour. A constructive solution, for example, instead of housing, would be to develop the former Inverkip Power Station site into a world class holiday village offering unrivalled views and water sports.
“Is Inverclyde Council actively selling our area? What about a film studio at Spango Valley? As a member of the Scottish Parliament’s Culture, Tourism Europe and External Relations Committee (CTEER), during our recent Screen Sector inquiry, evidence indicated the opportunity for a new film studio in Scotland. A private developer is already looking and is in discussions with officials on this matter. Could the Power Station site of Spango Valley be an option as it provides the privacy required and the connectivity to other filming locations in close proximity but crucially with Inverclyde as the hub? I believe Inverclyde should have that ambition.
“We should also be doing all we can to protect one of our greatest assets locally, the Clyde. I am saddened that this prime waterfront space is not being considered in the same realm as a development opportunity like Dundee, a city which is being revitalised because of ambitious and, crucially, coherent and community consented waterfront re-imagination.
“By increasing the amount of people working here, we increase the number of people exposed to Inverclyde. With that, we increase the number of people talking about our area and wanting to come and explore it. This increases tourism which brings jobs and more people to work here. Only then is there the need for extensive new housing, but let’s get everything else in place first.
“We can’t just build these homes and hope people come. We need to give them a reason to do so. We have the locations, the talents, and a local college to supply people with skills, but we need more jobs and industry to attract people to live here and current residents to stay. We all accept that we need to grow our declining population. This should be our focus.
“For me, the main areas we need to work on in Inverclyde are bringing industry, jobs and tourism to the area while improving our transport network. Allied to that we should develop an ambitious programme for substantial additional housing for local residents as well as people coming to work and live in our area.
“I mention in my submission that the volume of new homes to be built on the former Ravenscraig hospital site westwards presents many challenges if there is not a strategic effort to enhance the infrastructure in the area. Via a recent consultation I undertook on the trunk road network in Inverclyde, 77.2% of respondents noted that they did not feel the A8 and A78 could cope with the extra traffic that significant new housing developments would bring.
“However I very much welcome the plan to regenerate many areas in Port Glasgow with new housing, with a planned total of 200 new homes at Port Glasgow Industrial Estate and 140 at Woodhall.
“Anyone wishing to discuss the LDP with me, please get in contact with my office.”
To view the proposed LDP go to – https://www.inverclyde.gov.uk/planning-and-the-environment/planning-policy/development-planning/new-ldp