Bold bid for £100m to fund Falkirk revival

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Plans are being put in place to borrow £100 million to kickstart a development boom that could attract £1 billion investment to Falkirk district.

Town hall chiefs are putting the final touches to an ambitious bid to tap into Treasury funds to get dozens of projects which could create hundreds of jobs off the drawing board.

A business case to win the cash through the Tax Increment Financing scheme will be put to the Scottish Government’s Scottish Futures Trust team by the deadline of August 19.

The council has been working on a bid for the last 18 months. It hopes it will see funding made available to get massive projects including the upgrading of the M9, A9 and A801 Avon Gorge road links and development at the Falkirk Gateway, Grangemouth Docks, Earls Gate, Gilston and Helix sites started.

Approval allows councils to borrow cash from The Public Works Loan Board to deliver essential infrastructure like roads, lighting and utilities which have to be in place before building can start. Once completed and the sites are occupied, the rates the council receives from its new tenants is used to repay the money.

The idea has been used elsewhere and, in the current economic climate, is seen as an important regeneration tool. The TIF idea is already understood to have cross-party support in principle.

Councillor Craig Martin, leader of Falkirk Council, claims it is an opportunity the council cannot afford to miss.

He said: “The economic downturn has had a major impact on development across the district. After an awful lot of hard work we are ready to present a viable business plan to deliver not only Falkirk Gateway but many other key projects as well. Our officers have produced a very exciting and innovative proposal which could bring absolutely massive benefits.”