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Last Updated: Friday, 19 May 2006, 09:47 GMT 10:47 UK
81m 'Gateway to Scotland' plans
Gretna wedding
Around 40m is planned to be spent at the old blacksmith's shop
Ambitious plans to develop Gretna as the "Gateway to Scotland" could deliver nearly 600 jobs to the area.

Private and public investment of at least 81m is being proposed on a range of projects to transform the town.

Plans at Gretna Football Club, the World Famous Old Blacksmith's Shop and housing investment are being tied in with council development plans.

A report on the scheme says it could transform the town into a "world-renowned" place to live.

The project is seen as part of plans to help the area recover from jobs losses with the decommissioning of the Chapelcross nuclear plant.

A paper for Lower Annandale councillors outlines the potential for turning the town into the "optimum site to celebrate entering Scotland".

"It should be developed into the significant gateway that its location and tradition deserves," Annandale and Eskdale area manager Steve Southam said.

Planned investment in the town includes Gretna FC's plans to develop a 6,000-seat stadium.

Major investment in Gretna
40m international visitor attraction
25m housing development
5m Gretna football stadium
3.6m care home
3m village centre plan
2m landmark scheme
2m Gretna and district youth project

The Gretna Green Group also has plans to invest 40m to extend and enhance services at its World Famous Old Blacksmith's Shop.

A 3m regeneration of Central Avenue, a 2m "landmark project" and a major youth scheme are also on the cards.

A new care home, investment to upgrade the Cumberland Gap and the construction of 165 homes are seen as helping the town to move forward.

All the developments aim to build on its success as a wedding venue and also the expansion of the nearby shopping outlet village.

"Improving the visitor experience of Gretna will be vital to ensure that its reputation is enhanced to encourage more tourists and visitors in the future," said Mr Southam.

He warned, however, that most of the ambitious plans would require improved water supplies in order to proceed.

A council forum is to look at the best way to tackle the water constraints in the area and work with potential developers and Scottish Water to address them.

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