Partners invited to be part of Gateway

Ross Martin, Jennifer Tempany, Cecil Meiklejohn, Keith Aitken of PR company GVA and Douglas Duff
Ross Martin, Jennifer Tempany, Cecil Meiklejohn, Keith Aitken of PR company GVA and Douglas Duff

Falkirk Council has sent a ‘come and join us’ invitation to businesses, investors and developers.

Leader Cecil Meiklejohn wants them to be partners in a multi-million pound plan to build on the Falkirk Gateway site which has the potential to create hundreds of jobs.

Over 27 acres of greenbelt between Falkirk and Grangemouth is for sale and earmarked for mixed use including commercial, leisure, tourism and housing.

Councillor Meiklejohn welcomed potential backers to the launch of the ‘Invest In Falkirk’ programme in Falkirk Stadium yesterday (Wednesday) which promoted the council’s ‘growth, inclusion and investment’ vision for the future.

She told them: “In difficult economic conditions, Falkirk has taken great steps forward and we are keen to build on that.”

The head of the SNP administration said the Tax Increment Finance deal which allows spending on preparing sites for potential customers and later repaid from future business rates income will be key to attracting interest.

Councillor Meiklejohn said: “These are exciting plans to promote Falkirk’s economy going forward and attract investment to our area by promoting the potential of working with partners.”

Douglas Duff, the council’s head of planning and economic development said: “We already have a wide business base which has seen prominent names like Ineos, Asda and Alexander Dennis go from strength to strength.

“But there is also a wide range of small businesses here growing too, and this rare opportunity to purchase strategic sites, all excellently located on the eastern side of Falkirk and close to the M9 motorway, provides more opportunities because of the potential growth this investment zone offers.

“The Gateway can be the flagship to create a new urban quarter with the public and private sector working together. That’s the key.”

Phase one of Falkirk Gateway will see work starting on the £83 million campus for Forth Valley College later this month and expected to be occupied by October 2019.

The 2000 students it will attract will have the chance to take courses which have the potential to create a ‘home grown’ workforce new businesses can use.

Jennifer Tempany, head of its business development, said: “The new campus will reinforce Falkirk’s reputation of providing a highly skilled workforce to potential employers.”

Ross Martin, chair of Scottish Waterways Trust, told potential investors: “The Gateway provides the opportunity to create growth, investment and inclusion. We have to take people with us to generate opportunities and that’s worth supporting.”