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INVESTMENT IN LOMONDGATE TOPS £100M
A project launched 10 years ago to regenerate the former J+B whisky bottling plant at Dumbarton has created 718 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and £365 million for the region’s economy.
A new independent economic impact assessment by consultants Peter Brett Associates reveals 757 people now work at Lomondgate – the regeneration and development project being delivered by Strathleven Regeneration CIC and Walker Group (Scotland) Ltd.
And private sector investment is now more than £100 million, smashing the £60m target set in 2007.
According to the report, Lomondgate businesses – Aggreko, BBC Scotland, Euro Garages, Jaconelli’s and Whitbread – and housing developers have invested a total of £106 million.
This includes £47.9 million invested in building 344 new homes by three developers – Walker Group, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey. Lomondgate has created the equivalent of 82 construction jobs, on top of the 718 identified in the study.
Key developments that have taken place at the 120-acre Lomondgate site over the 2016/2017 year, which have contributed to its continued success, include:
- Whitbread Group plc almost doubled the size of its Premier Inn (already one of its best performing hotels in the region) by 54 rooms to 114 rooms, a vote of confidence in the location.
- Taylor Wimpey received planning permission and acquired additional land to build a further 58 houses at Lomondgate. Groundworks have commenced and the new homes will be built over the coming two years.
- Traffic count and visitor surveys were undertaken in 2016 from which it has been independently estimated that Lomondgate Services is now attracting more than 740,000 vehicles and 1.7 million visitors per year.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Strathleven Regeneration’s chairman, Bruce Malcolm, said: “These results – which have been achieved in challenging conditions and without public funding – show that Lomondgate has progressed from a regeneration initiative to become a vibrant community, successful business location and natural gateway to Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park.
“Securing over £100m of investment in such difficult conditions is testament to the effectiveness of our partnership with Walker Group and the strength of the location.”
Damon Scott, Chief Executive, Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce, welcomed the figures: “The latest economic impact estimates make for great reading and affirm the success of the Lomondgate regeneration project.
“The site has become a significant part of the West Dunbartonshire economy to provide business opportunities, generate local jobs and new housing. There now exists a real critical mass at this gateway site and, with the roll-out of £40m Chivas investment in their production facility nearby, the launch National Film and Television School hub and continued investment in the Loch Lomond Shores site, the momentum continues to build and the outlook for the whole area is really exciting.
“Lomondgate’s success will continue to set Dunbartonshire out as an attractive place to do business and, as a chamber, we look forward to working with the businesses and partners in the area to continue to build on this.”
Local MSP Jackie Baillie said: “Lomondgate is one of Scotland’s most ambitious regeneration projects and this report confirms that it is a real success story. Creating new jobs and good-quality housing are crucial to getting our economy back on track and promoting Dumbarton as a fantastic place to live and work.
“Hundreds more people now work at Lomondgate compared to when the J&B plant closed in 2000 and the development has attracted a number of world-leading businesses, including Aggreko and the BBC. I hope that even more companies will see the huge potential of the site’s location as the Gateway to Loch Lomond on one of the country’s most important trunk roads.”
Leader of West Dunbartonshire Council Jonathan McColl said: “These figures represent incredible success at Lomondgate, with initial targets surpassed and investment continuing to pour in. This Council is determined to show businesses big and small that West Dunbartonshire is a place where they can be confident locating their operations. We are well positioned close to vital links to major road, air, rail and sea transport networks and we are very much open for businesses.”
The release of the study follows the news that the BBC is partnering with the Scottish Government to launch a hub of the National Film and Television School (NFTS) at BBC Scotland’s studios at Pacific Quay, Glasgow, and Dumbarton. The organisation’s hit soap opera River City is filmed at Lomondgate and celebrated its 15th anniversary last month.
And earlier this month Chivas Brothers was granted planning permission to build a new bottling plant at its Kilmalid site – adjacent to Lomondgate – as part of a £40 million investment.
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