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Last Updated: Monday, 27 March 2006, 13:44 GMT 14:44 UK
Major community project launched
Stirling Bridge
Raploch has not had the growth seen elsewhere in Stirling
A company which will drive forward a major 120m urban improvement project in part of Stirling has been launched.

Independent charitable company Raploch will oversee the move, which includes building 900 homes and community health and special education facilities.

The project, which aims to transform the Raploch area, will see a new sports facilities and a riverside walkway.

Raploch has now completed its first major project, the Stirling Western Access Road.

Some eight local unemployed residents were trained during the 1.1m roads project to upgrade 600 metres of single carriageway and build a new roundabout.

Disadvantaged area

Although situated in the heart of the thriving city of Stirling, the area of Raploch has been hit with higher unemployment and poorer housing and training prospects.

Communities Minister Malcolm Chisholm said: "Raploch is showing the whole of Scotland how a historically disadvantaged area can transform itself into a vibrant and prosperous community where people want to live and work.

"It has been a very good start, but there is still much more to be done. And council tenants themselves will have their chance to vote for much more investment in their homes and the homes for their children."

'Distinctive' approach

Raploch, a partnership between residents and several public agencies including Stirling Council and NHS Forth Valley, was one of three original Scottish Executive-funded urban regeneration companies.

The eight-year Raploch project aims to grow house prices in the area from an average of 28,000 to 178,000, double the percentage of owner occupiers to 40% and significantly reduce crime levels by 2012.

Brian Devlin, spokesperson for the project and Stirling Council's director of regeneration, said: "Raploch is one of the most significant new urban regeneration projects in Scotland.

"We have taken a distinctive approach in developing the Raploch urban regeneration company which not only reflects what local people want but is drawn from good practice in other projects around Europe."

Funding for the 120m Raploch project is made up from projected house sales and grants from Europe, Scottish Executive and other public sector organisations.

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