Page last updated at 07:59 GMT, Friday, 18 April 2008 08:59 UK

Fears over Ravenscraig commitment

Graphic of Ravenscraig development
Councillors said the 1.2bn development should be a priority

North Lanarkshire councillors have questioned the Scottish Government's commitment to the 1.2bn redevelopment of Ravenscraig.

The fears were expressed in a response to the government's national planning framework.

The council said it was concerned the development at the former steel works was getting less recognition than other projects, such as the Clyde Gateway.

A government spokesman said Ravenscraig was a key economic priority.

Local authorities were invited to submit their responses to the national planning framework, which sets out the government's strategy for development in Scotland until 2025.

Attracting investment will become increasingly difficult if Ravenscraig is not given the same level of recognition as other major developments
Jim Fitzsimons
Ravenscraig Ltd

The consultation closed earlier this week.

A report by North Lanarkshire Council said it welcomed the government's commitment to fostering links between Glasgow and Edinburgh and the surrounding areas, but was concerned about Ravenscraig.

It said: "There are concerns that the national planning framework does not give sufficient recognition to the Ravenscraig, Motherwell, Wishaw initiative, particularly in comparison to the emphasis given elsewhere, most notably the Clyde Gateway."

Fears were also expressed about how the framework would influence future investment in the project. But a government spokesman said Ravenscraig was a priority.

He said: "The draft national planning framework recognises that Ravenscraig is a key location for regeneration in North Lanarkshire which can provide new economic opportunities and improve the quality of the Lanarkshire environment."

'Delivering benefits'

Jim Fitzsimons, director at Ravenscraig Ltd, said he echoed the council's concerns.

He said: "A project of this size and complexity requires significant private and public sector investment in order to realise its potential.

"Attracting this investment will become increasingly difficult if Ravenscraig is not given the same level of recognition as other major development initiatives and is not dealt with in a consistent manner over the course of its development.

"This is a project which will deliver major benefits for Lanarkshire and Scotland in terms of new jobs, investment and quality of life. It is vital it is made a priority, which will allow us to begin delivering these benefits."

The fears come against a backdrop of uncertainty about how the Ravenscraig development will be affected by the government's shake-up of Scottish Enterprise.

Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire had been driving the regeneration project, but discussions are ongoing between the government, Scottish Enterprise and Cosla, which represents local authorities, on how this should move forward after the local agencies were scrapped.

A Scottish Enterprise spokeswoman said a decision was due to be made soon.

The final national planning framework is expected to published in the winter of 2008.

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