Memorandum submitted by the Local Authorities
1. Local authorities have a long standing
commitment to the Canal. There have been a variety of working
groups and local plans aimed at maintaining the Canal as part
of our natural heritage.
We welcome the British Waterways initiative
which has made the Canal navigable.
There are 7 local authorities whose area the
Canal traverses, each authority has made a written submission
which has been co-ordinated in this document.
2. Local authorities have made a contribution
to the Millennium Link of some £7 million, a significant
contribution to the total project.
3. The Canal offers the opportunity of green
space through the middle of a significant number of urban areas.
This green space offers leisure opportunity for walking, cycling,
fishing etc. The Canal also provides the opportunity for business
creation and service sector development. The various aspects of
job creation have been examined in the local authorities individual
The Canal is part of Scotland's industrial heritage
and offers opportunities for arts and culture development. Local
authorities are keen to exploit these opportunities.
4. The development of the Canal has been
an innovative and difficult project to deliver. British Waterways
have been successful in delivering the project within a restructured
budget to a rigorous timescale. The impact of the development
will be realised over a long period of time. Projections of usage
and job creation are ambitious but achievable if all agencies
continue to work in partnership to drive on the necessary ancillary
development. Public agencies cannot create jobs on the scale required,
they can create the infrastructure which enables the private sector
to deliver the jobs required.
The development of a fully functional canal
offers the private sector part of the infrastructure necessary
to stimulate growth.
Strategic DirectorDevelopment & Environment
East Dunbartonshire Council
1.1 The Millennium Link Project was first
launched in October 1994 and following a resubmission to the Millennium
Commission in November 1995 was successful in obtaining Commission
funding. As part of the partnership funding package West Dunbartonshire
Council were requested to provide a contribution to the £5.5
million local authority contribution.
1.2 West Dunbartonshire Council agreed (17
Dec 1997) to contribute to the required share of funding (£287,166)
by way of a land transfer to British Waterways of the bed of the
canal as it runs through Clydebank Town Centre. Negotiations are
continuing on this transfer. Whilst the provision of other funding
sources was dependant on anticipated employment generation the
West Dunbartonshire Council contribution was not. It is generally
considered the regeneration of the canal would contribute to community
and environmental benefits as well as economic development opportunities.
1.3 The Local Authorities were requested
to guarantee an additional £1.8 million following a shortfall
in European funding and the West Dunbartonshire Council contribution
is £93,600. Whilst this guarantee was dependant on other
financial contributions being sought to cover the shortfall such
contributions were not sufficient to cover the Local authority
guarantee and this funding has been called upon.
1.4 In addition West Dunbartonshire Council
has agreed to contribute £40,000 to the reconstruction of
a pedestrian footbridge in Clydebank.
1.5 West Dunbartonshire Council's contribution
to the Millennium Link Project is therefore approximately £420,000
(partially by land transfer equivalent). The Project expenditure
to date on the canal works within the Council area is approximately
£8 million achieving the reopening of the canal to navigation,
towpath improvements and environmental works. It is generally
considered that for the local authorities' contribution a substantial
amount of investment in the canal corridor has been leveraged
2. Economic Impacts
2.1 Scottish Enterprise National (SEN) presented
three reports by DTZ Pieda Consultants to the Lowland Canals Steering
Committee (23 Aug 1999) which covered the socio-economic impacts,
economic market and physical development contexts and framework
2.2 The DTZ Pieda report "Millennium
LinkSocio-economic Cost Benefit Analysis" studied
the potential benefits of the canal project. These were split
into direct benefits from the canal restoration and operations
and indirect benefits form the tourist attractions and business
developments in the canal corridor. A total of 4541 FTE jobs were
estimated to be created over a period of 10 to 15 yearssee
Appendix 1. The Committee will no doubt be aware of the DTZ Pieda
Reports from other bodies contributing to the enquiry.
2.3 DTZ Pieda split the potential developments
along the canals into a series of "corridors of opportunity"
and developed targets for each corridor. These targets have been
taken forward by SEN for the purposes of monitoring and evaluation
which has been agreed by the project partners through the Lowland
Canals Steering Committee. It is anticipated the redevelopment
of the vacant and derelict land adjacent to the canal in Bowling
and Clydebank will contribute to these targets.
2.4 Studies have been made into the redevelopment
opportunities in Clydebank, Old Kilpatrick and Bowling. Work is
ongoing into the job creation potential of the Clydebank and Old
Kilpatrick riverside area on behalf of Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire.
2.5 The report "Clydebank RiversideA
Framework for Development", commissioned by Scottish Enterprise
Dunbartonshire and West Dunbartonshire Council has been prepared
and a consultation process is being undertaken. The report proposes
the redevelopment of a Clyde waterfront area of 193 Ha (476 acres)
stretching from Clydebank Town Centre to Old Kilpatrick which
lies to the south of the Forth and Clyde Canal. The Clydebank
Riverside area is considered suitable for business and residential
development mainly in mixed use development mainly in mixed use
neighbourhoods or "quarters". A total of 145,000 m2
Class 4 Business Use, 50,000 m2 Class 5 General Industry and 2,000
residential units is anticipated as part of a long term 10 to
15 year programme.
2.6 Four of the "quarters" identified
in this study lie adjacent to the Canal. The Clydebank Central
Quarter forms part of the Clyde Shopping Centre and the main aim
is to rejuvenate the town centre with a range of uses including
15,000 m2 of offices and business space as well as shopping, leisure
and community facilities. Canalside flatted development is also
envisaged along with improved transport interchange facilities.
2.7 The Beardmore Waterfront quarter is
located south of the Dalmuir Drop-lock on the canal. The development
of 17,500 m2 of office space suitable for biomedical/healthcare
research uses, 15,000 m2 of general industrial space and 200 houses
is envisaged. A leisure opportunity of a pub-restaurant adjacent
to the Dalmuir Drop-lock is outlined.
2.8 The Carless quarter is between the canal
and the Clyde at Old Kilpatrick. A mixed development of 15,000
m2 office space to form a Riverside Business Park and 17,500 m2
general industrial uses is suggested along with 300 homes. Leisure
uses envisaged include a riverside pub/restaurant and a heath
and fitness centre. The Old Kilpatrick quarter is located west
of Carless and it is suggested office and light industrial developments
of 5,000 m2 should complement the existing business uses in the
area. 80 residential units, community outdoor/nature conservation
centres are also envisaged.
2.9 Whilst currently work is ongoing to
estimate the jobs potential of the proposed development, such
developments will certainly present very significant employment
opportunities in the Clydebank area. Given the proximity of Social
Inclusion Partnership areas to the Clydebank Riverside the public
transport accessibility of the potential employment areas was
a major consideration in the report. West Dunbartonshire Council
(26 Sept 2001) has adopted the Clydebank RiversideA Framework
for Development as supplementary planning guidance prior to the
publication of the revised draft of the Clydebank Local Plan which
incorporates policies based on the Framework document.
2.10 The Bowling Strategic Options Study
(Sept 1999) commissioned by Scottish Enterprise Dunbartonshire
looked at the development options for Bowling village from Bowling
Basin of the Forth and Clyde canal to the ESSO Bowling terminal
site. A mixed use development option was recommended with employment
developments such as a televillage, a technology park campus and
a high quality business park suggested. The canal and Bowling
Basin area was seen as a recreational zone with mixed use leisure
development at the Basin with canal/riverside housing further
to the east. Bowling Harbour was identified as having potential
for marina or maritime activity with riverside housing further
west. Whilst no employment figures were put on the strategic options
the jobs potential of the suggested business and leisure developments
2.11 The £21 million refurbishment
of the Clyde Shopping Centre, Clydebank by CIS is now underway.
This refurbishment will provide a newly roofed and surfaced precinct,
new access and car parking facilities and additional retail floorspace.
Other partnership work is being undertaken to consider improvements
to the public realm areas alongside the canal at Clydebank Town
Centre. The canal passes through the Clyde Shopping Centre at
Clydebank and opportunities are envisaged to take advantage of
the reopening of the canal to navigation. Making Clydebank more
attractive to shoppers could lead to an increase in retail employment
opportunities. Other proposals are envisaged to increase the retail
floorspace in Clydebank adjacent to the canal which would create
new employment opportunities.
3.1 The employment potential of the Millennium
Link Project will not be fully realised in the near future. Development
will be undertaken over a 10 to 15 year period following completion
of the Project. Substantial development of business uses in the
Clydebank Riverside area and Bowling, leisure uses at Bowling
and Old Kilpatrick and retail employment in central Clydebank
is anticipated. Whilst not all this potential development is directly
related to the canal the Millennium Link Project has been a catalyst
in regenerating the canal area, has upgraded the canal environs,
provided leisure and tourism opportunities and other employment
related to navigation on the canal.
1. The Forth and Clyde Canal has played
a significant part in the economic history of the city of Glasgow.
The opening of the Canal between 1768-80 led to the development
of a number of industries within the city which relied on efficient
transportation systems for the movement of both raw materials
and finished goods. Most significant amongst these were the Tobacco
Industry (Alexandra Parade), the Foundry Industry (Possilpark),
the Whisky Industry (Port Dundas), the Chemicals Industry (Sighthill),
the Textiles Industry (Dennistoun) and the Timber Industry (Port
Dundas)all of which required a reliable means of access
to the major docks along the Clyde. The decline of these industries
over an extended period, combined with the reduction of status
to a remainder waterway extensive area of the Canal in 1962, largely
saw the canal fall into neglect and disuse. In particular these
changes interrupted navigation across central Scotland.
2. The Millennium Link project provides
the opportunity for the Canal to take on a new economic purpose
and to stimulate new forms of physical regeneration or economic
development benefit in canal-side communities across central Scotland.
As cities have to continually reinvent themselves in the face
of changing circumstances, so to with the Canal.
3. Glasgow City Council was quick to commit
its support to the Millennium Link project. This support is reflected
(a) The Council's contribution of £2
million to the project.
(b) The Council's participation at officer
and elected members level in the Lowland Canals Advisory Group
and Lowland Canals Steering Committee.
(c) The Council's contributions to small
environmental training projects which have taken placeor
are plannedalong various stretches of the Canal within
(d) Preparation of a Glasgow Canal Strategy
(due to be completed in spring 2002).
4. The Council's support for the Canal project
was predicated on its view that the Canal represented a significant
under-used, and under-exploited asset, for the North of the city.
Cities elsewhere in the UK and wider afield have used Canals and
waterways as key regenerator projects, using the investment made
in the waterways to attract investment into vacant land and properties
in adjacent areas. The Council's view is that the Millennium Link
Programme provides a major stimulus to build on existing investment
along the Canal and extend this into the many areas of vacant
and derelict land which lie alongside it within the city.
5. The framework for the development of
canal related regeneration opportunities within Glasgow is provided
by the Glasgow City Plan (currently moving towards formal adoption)
and the Glasgow Canal Strategy (currently being finalised and
due to be published in 2002. The aim of the Canal Strategy is
"to create a sustainable corridor of regeneration along the
canal within the city which will maximise the following opportunities":
Identify essential improvements to
support the canals reuse;
Improve the canal environment;
Encourage appropriate canal side
Stimulate regeneration for the benefit
of Glasgow's communities;
Create jobs for local people.
6. The opportunities which the Council sees
emerging from the project include:
The direct employment benefits which
have actually stemmed from the programme of works which have taken
place including onsite works and the associated down-stream work
which this generates (in design, project management, manufactured
products and services/supplies).
The long term benefits which might
accrue from the promotion/marketing of the Canal as a tourism
resource for Central Scotland and the opportunities within this
to develop Canal related leisure activities including retail/catering
at Canal side locations and vessel storage/maintenance and of
course Canal related events (eg angling competitions, sailing
The opportunity to utilise the setting
of the improved Canal to encourage a range of other developments
on sites adjoining it.
7. The Canal within Glasgow comprises two
sectionsthe "Mainline" and the Glasgow Branch.
The Mainline extends East West from Duntreath to Milton passing
through a number of housing and industrial areas and including
the Drumchapel, Glasgow North and Milton Social Inclusion Partnership
areas. The Glasgow Branch runs North-South from Stockingfield
Junction to Port Dundas, passing through a predominately industrial
section of the Glasgow North Social Inclusion Partnership area.
Along the length of the canal there are several sections where
there are few immediate opportunities for canal side development,
although there is scope to bring forward widespread environmental
improvements. There are however several areas where major development
projects are either underway or under development. These are:
| Port Dundas
| Speirs Wharf||Glasgow Branch
| Applecross Basin||Glasgow Branch
| Firhill Basin||Glasgow Branch
| Ruchill/Lochburn Road
| Stockingfield Junction
| Maryhill Locks||Mainline
| Dawsholm Park||Mainline
| Anniesland Business Village
The pattern of recent investments and potential opportunities
within some of these areas is outlined below.
8. PORT DUNDAS/APPLECROSS/FIRHILL
This area is located at the Southern end of the Glasgow Branch.
It contains a substantial number of small companies operating
from properties ranging in quality from the recently completed
M8 Foodpark through to properties at the virtual end of their
useful life. Recent investments or new proposals in the area include:
The M8 Foodpark (Keppochill Road).
New class 4 office developments (Rodney Street/Wigton
Street, and High Craighall Road).
Glasgow City Council and SE Glasgow are currently
in discussion with a local construction company who are proposing
to construct approximately 100,000 sq feet of small factory/class
4 office space on the vacant site at Eagle Street to capitalise
on expressed demand to locate in this area.
Discussions are also underway with BWB and other
interested parties over the potential to develop employment related
use on the Pinkston Basin site, and a mixed development on the
area stretching between the BWB Headquarters at Applecross Street
and Firhill Football Stadium.
Queens' Cross Workspace who have developed a number
of workshop and class 4 properties at Firhilland are examining
options to develop further space on the Canal embankment along
Garscube Road to take advantage of the Canal-side setting.
Proposals being developed by Partick Thistle FC
to develop new accommodation on their car park which adjoins the
Various projects are either underway or under consideration
in this location including:
The construction of the Havana Locks Housing Development
by Stewart Milne Homes/Ambion Homes on a very difficult site (former
gasworks) in an attractive Canal-side setting. The marketing of
this site concentrates on its proximity to the Canal.
City Council and SE Glasgow proposals to create
an extension to the West of Scotland Science Park within part
of the Dawsholm Park area. This development has been stimulated
by unmet demand for Science Park type locations within the city,
with Dawsholm Park being promoted due to the high quality environmental
setting and the new Railway Station which is proposed at Dawsholm
by Strathclyde Passenger Transport. The Railway Station will be
directly adjacent to the Canal providing the only location in
Glasgow where two such facilities are co-located offering a tremendous
opportunity for a stopping off point/leisure/hospitality facility.
The possibility of commercial development on the
north side of Maryhill Locks, including a possible stopping off
Discussions with a housing developer on a possible
housing development on the southern side of Maryhill Locks.
Various regeneration projects are already underway in this
Housing development on various sites within the
Ruchill/Keppoch New Neighbourhood Initiative.
The establishment of a new community golf course
and youth golf training facility on both sides of the canal under
the management of a local community trust. This project is now
part of the Sport Scotland Youth Golf Initiative. The project
aims to provide training opportunities in golf course maintenance
11. ANNIESLAND BUSINESS
This area has been brought back into productive use after
a long period of decline. Recent investment by the private sector
has been stimulated by the provision of grant support from SE
Glasgow to create 80,000 sq. feet (or thereby) of new business
space and 50,000 space of refurbished spacewhich will accommodate
up to 560 jobsat a cost of £5.4 million. The ERDF
application for this project specifically referred to the projects
proximity to the Millennium Link project.
12. Other opportunities are in the process of being identified/worked
environmental and housing
possible stopping point/commercial development
links to SSSI/possible moorings/commercial development
13. In addition to these physical development initiatives
along Canal related sites the Council has been working with BW
and other agencies to promote further environmental improvements
along towpaths and adjacent areas, using these works to provide
training and employment support for long term unemployed individuals
within the North of the city. Projects with a total value of approximately
£600,000 will be undertaken over the period 2001-2003 providing
training and employment opportunities for approximately 30 people
over that period.
14. The Council considers that the Millennium Link Project
offers tremendous potential to stimulate development interests
within parts of the North/North West of Glasgow which have suffered
either under investment or dis-investment. It is however still
very early days and it is likely that the economic opportunities
which will be unlocked will take several years to accrue.
The East Dunbartonshire Council area is at the heart of the
Forth and Clyde Canal. The canal passes through, or close by,
urban communities, where the potential for economic and physical
regeneration is considerable, and through attractive countryside,
where there are great opportunities to link the canal into the
wider development of countryside recreation. East Dunbartonshire
is therefore uniquely placed to take advantage of the many benefits
that the Millennium Link will bring. It is an unparalleled opportunity
to create a new focus for regeneration in the Council area. Through
its wide range of statutory and discretionary roles, the Council
will be a key player in promoting sustainable development of the
canals in association with the Millennium Link.
2. THE POLICY CONTEXT
There is a comprehensive range of corporate policies that
are relevant to the development of the canal corridor. These include
statutory Structure and Local Plans, as well as other non-statutory
2.1 East Dunbartonshire Community Plan
This developed a shared vision for the area between eight
partners. It sees East Dunbartonshire as:
an area of achievement, offering a wide range
of opportunities and a high quality of life. Communities will
be proud to be part of East Dunbartonshire;
an area with a range of opportunities for workfor
employment and enterprisedeploying modern technology and
building on the attractiveness of the natural environment;
an area where opportunities are accessible by
everyone. East Dunbartonshire will meet the needs and aspirations
of all its citizens, actively pursuing social inclusion;
an area that looks outwards to the world, playing
its part in the wider community, building mutually beneficial
relationships with surrounding areas and continually learning
to do better;
an area that looks to the future, fulfilling the
potential of its young people and sustaining its natural resources
for present and future generations.
Under its "Education and Employment" theme, it
recognises a key issue as "Visitors and Tourism" and
identifies "Promoting Kirkintilloch as Scotland's Canal Capital"
as an action for 2001-2002. This will help to secure the vision
for the area.
2.2 Changing the Balance
This economic framework for East Dunbartonshire has five
themes. These are:
Attracting and developing organisations
Learning to compete and
It recognises the challenge of maximising the benefit of
the Millennium Link and identifies the canal development programme
as a priority because of the opportunity it creates for the redevelopment
of Kirkintilloch as a canal town.
2.3 Draft East Dunbartonshire Access Strategy and Tourism
The Millennium Link is one of several key long distance routes
in East Dunbartonshire that form a core framework, within which
local networks could develop. In the Audit Analysis within the
Strategy, the Millennium Link emerged as one of the major opportunities
within East Dunbartonshire. It is recognised that "the Millennium
Link project has already, and will continue, to bring significant
benefits for the local environment and communities."
The Access Strategy has cross links with the Draft East Dunbartonshire
Tourism Strategy. This identifies a vision for developing a more
exciting and attractive destination for visitors. The Forth and
Clyde Canal is highlighted as providing significant potential
for tourism development. The Access Strategy aims to achieve this
by emphasising ways of attracting visitors to the area, and "adding
value" to experiences within the area.
The Access Strategy identifies that local links to the Forth
and Clyde Canal towpath are crucial. These should not only aim
to ensure that local networks link into it for ease of use by
communities along the way, but those also local attractions, and
areas of interest away from the canal side, are better promoted.
This in turn will help to realise its potential in terms of supporting
local economic development and boosting numbers of visitors spending
time in the area. It is envisaged that Access Links to and from
the canal into local networks and visitor attractions will be
implemented (starting within the next month) over the next couple
of years, thus generating construction employment.
2.4 Forth and Clyde Canal Development Action Plan
A Development Action Plan was created for East Dunbartonshire
that aims to draw together these existing policies and to relate
them in a positive way to the exceptional opportunities that the
Millennium Link has created. Of particular significance is the
Forth and Clyde Canal Local Plan, which was jointly adopted by
the former riparian authorities including Strathclyde Regional
Council, Bearsden and Milngavie and Strathkelvin District Councils,
and continues to be implemented and monitored by the new riparian
authorities. Central to the Plan was the aspiration of opening
up the canal to through navigation and developing it sustainably
for recreation and amenity purposes. It therefore anticipated
the Millennium Link, and continues to provide a statutory framework
for the future development of the Forth and Clyde Canal.
2.5 THE DEFINITION
No attempt has been made to define strict limits to the canal
corridor in the Action Plan. It is intended that the concept be
interpreted flexibly depending on the particular issue in question.
Although the physical development opportunities identified in
the Development Action Plan are canal-side sites, the economic
linkages and impacts implicit in the project are expected to extend
far beyond the immediate environs of the canals. The Forth and
Clyde Canal is a key visitor destination within East Dunbartonshire
and it is essential that coherent links are established with other
key destinations such as Loch Lomond, Glasgow City, Stirling and
the National Park.
Whilst the Millennium Link itself is programmed for completion
in 2001, it is important to note that the sustainable economic
development and environmental improvement of the corridor will
be a long-term project. It may take many years for the full potential
of the reopened canal network to be fulfilled. Indeed, it may
be that the nature and extent of various opportunities will only
be fully apparent when the Link has been operational for some
time. The Council must ensure that a long term perspective is
taken and that the elements of additional canal infrastructure
are put in place to capture that potential.
3.1 Economic Competitiveness: Securing maximum economic
Realising the full potential of the Millennium Link will
depend on ensuring that the necessary physical and economic linkages
are made both within the corridor, and between the corridor and
the wider Council area. Development must promote an integrated
approach in the following areas.
3.1.1 Market Demand. It is anticipated that most
development will be private sector led, in response to market
opportunities arising from the increased use and heightened profile
of the canals. The DTZ Pieda study has carried out an analysis
of operational nodes for the canal network and has suggested locations
where there will be a demand from boat-users for moorings and
servicing facilities based on average cruising times. However,
there will be demand from a wide variety of other users for visitor
and interpretative facilities, pubs/restaurants and accommodation.
Clearly, there will be a limit to demand and not every potential
node will support a full range of facilities. The important issue
is to ensure that developments that are likely to attract large
numbers of visitors (marinas, visitor centres, hotels and restaurants)
are located in the optimum location in order that the Millennium
Link functions as effectively as possible. Kirkintilloch's potential
to capture that market must be promoted as a new opportunity to
sustain and regenerate its economic vitality and viability.
3.1.2 Development Opportunities: Development will
of course be heavily influenced by the availability of suitable
physical opportunities, of particular interest are brown field
sites which are capable of contributing to urban regeneration.
Opportunities are also created by the presence of existing features
of interest, established facilities, access to countryside, or
interpretative themes (eg the Roman frontier, canal/industrial
3.1.3 Capturing the economic benefits for the Local
Economy. Encouraging economic spin-offs to local businesses,
is central to the project's justification. It is important that
the new canal-related development complements, rather than competes
with, existing commercial centres and attracts new and additional
3.1.5 Integration with Other Tourist and Visitor Attractions.
It is vital that the Millennium Link is integrated with the
local tourism product, in both physical and marketing terms, in
order to maximise length of visits and amount of tourist, visitor
and local spend.
3.2 Social Inclusion and Community Identity
3.2.1 Links to Local Labour Markets. Consideration
will be given to linking canal-related development with local
employment and training initiatives to ensure the creation of
local job opportunities.
3.2.2 Community Safety and Crime Prevention. Issues
of safety and security must be given consideration. Whilst more
intensive use of the canals may pose problems, greater use of
the waterways actually offers the prospect of achieving a safer
and more secure environment for users and property owners.
3.2.3 Engagement with the Local Community. There
is a need to formalise links between local community, voluntary
organisations and the Millennium Link Group to create a shared
vision to maximise the economic and social benefits to be derived
from the opening of the Canal. Early actions in schools and the
media to raise perception and understanding of the Canal's present
and historic role in the community are required.
3.3 Sustainability: Creating a Positive Future for the
The principles of sustainable development provide the key
to understanding how the economic and environmental potential
of the canals can be unlocked. Based as it is on the revitalisation
and reuse of a neglected asset, the Millennium Link offers numerous
ways of promoting sustainability, from regenerating derelict sites
to providing opportunities for cycling and walking. At the same
time, realising sustainable economic and community benefits will
be dependent on conserving the rich landscape, heritage and ecological
resources from which the canals derive their attractiveness. Development
must therefore take care to respect the environmental capacity
of the various parts of the canal network.
3.3.1 Linkages into the Millennium Link. Good
access to the canal network is vital. Optimum access points need
to be chosen, taking particular account of opportunities to promote
sustainable transport. This will include improving footpath and
cycle access to the canal from local communities alongside a safe
and secure environment for people and vehicles.
3.3.2 Linkages with the Countryside and "Greenspace".
The canals already present unparalleled opportunities for
off-road cycle and footpath access across the countryside of Central
Scotland, and use will increase dramatically with the Millennium
Link. Within the East Dunbartonshire Council area, the canals
are flanked by a number of areas with great potential for countryside
recreation. Developing these areas, and links to them from the
canal, will provide further scope to enhance the recreational
potential of the Millennium Link.
3.3.3 Reclaiming the Heritage. The canal corridor
is rich in archaeological sites and historic buildings. These
include the canal itself, the structure and associated industrial
heritage, together with the wealth of Roman sites associated with
the Antonine Wall. The Millennium Link presents opportunities
for historic building restoration and conservation/interpretation
of canal, industrial and Roman heritage. An access management
strategy to inform and encourage visitors to learn and stay has
been developed at a local level. Kirkintilloch, as the Canal Capital
of Scotland, must exploit its historic connections of boat, barge
building, and industrial production. To develop a unique local
tourism product around heritage is essential.
3.3.6 Design and Built Environment. Design quality
and consistency in new canal-side development will be of critical
importance. Each proposal will have to address its relationship
to the waterways and its impact on their setting.
3.4 Resources: Making It Happen
The Millennium Link's budget of £78 million covers only
the engineering works necessary to reopen navigation on the canals.
This has been a major public sector investment. Realising the
economic benefit will require a significant lead to be taken by
the business sector. Levering in the additional resources necessary
to realise development opportunities is therefore a key issue.
It is essential that all potential project partners are brought
on board and a common vision developed to ensure the combined
public interventions attract and capture private sector interest
and investment. Resources in the public sector are scarce, and
maximum use must be used of the opportunities to lever in private
sector resources. In addition, European Union funds should be
focussed on obtaining the maximum economic impact from what has
already been a substantial investment.
4. AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
4. 1 In East Dunbartonshire, the partners common aim
for development within the canal corridor is to maximise the economic,
social and environmental benefits arising from the Millennium
Key objectives have been identified as:
1. establishing Kirkintilloch as a key visitor destination
on the Forth and Clyde Canal;
2. maximising and diversifying the leisure, recreational,
and educational potential of the canal for local communities and
3. encouraging partnership working and ensuring development
is properly co-ordinated and integrated with adjacent communities,
countryside, tourism facilities and transport infrastructure.
5. DEVELOPMENT IN THE CANAL CORRIDOR
5.1 Opportunity Sites
The East Dunbartonshire area is at the heart of the Forth
and Clyde Canal. The canal passes through, or close by, urban
communities, where the potential for economic and physical regeneration
is considerable, and through attractive countryside, where there
are great opportunities to link the canal into the wider development
of countryside recreation. A number of opportunity sites have
been identified along the length of the canal that may have the
potential to maximise the economic benefit of the canal in the
area. The sites appraised include:
Leisuredrome/Farm Bridge and its environs
Glasgow Road Bridge/Stables
Townhead Bridge Southbank
the Old Police Station
Social Work Council Offices
Barleybank Car Park
Twechar Bridge and open space
The major opportunity in East Dunbartonshire has been identified
at Southbank, Kirkintilloch. It is hoped that this opportunity
will be maximised through Kirkintilloch's Initiative.
5.2 Kirkintilloch's Initiative
The Southbank area of Kirkintilloch lies immediately adjacent
to both the Millennium Link and to the town centre. This area
is partially developed as a Business Park but has potential for
significant further development relating to the canal and its
users. The great advantage of canal related development in this
location is that it could provide new customers for both the Southbank
developments and for the town centre. Further development at Southbank
has, for some years, been constrained by two factors:
(i) the standard of transport access to the area is poor
with heavy peak period congestion on the two relatively poor standard
road access routes; and
(ii) there are a number of landowners in the Southbank
area each of whom have, until now, had differing development plans
for the area and some of whom have high expectations of the land
values which can be generated by development.
Unfortunately, these two factors have effectively put the
Council's hopes for a canal basin and canal related leisure development
on Council owned sites in the Southbank area on hold.
In June 2000 discussions which ultimately led to the establishment
of the "Kirkintilloch's Initiative" started. The "Kirkintilloch's
Initiative" is a partnership approach to the delivery of
a regeneration project for the Kirkintilloch and Lenzie area.
The funding partners are East Dunbartonshire Council and the Greater
Glasgow Primary Care NHS Trust. The object of the partnership
is to pool assets in the Kirkintilloch and Lenzie area, seek planning
consent for projects which yield enhanced values on land owned
by the Initiative and then to invest the receipts in regeneration
projects in the area.
The Initiative has recently been through a public consultation
exercise. The results along with final recommendations on a Masterplan
approach will be taken to the Council and the Trust for decision
shortly. A key regeneration project is the facilitation of development
in the Southbank area. The approach taken by the Initiative has
been to put up for public consultation and comment a deliverable
regeneration project using land within the ownership of the partners.
Additional potential partners, including adjacent landowners,
were then encouraged to enter into discussions about how the regeneration
package might be enhanced by working in partnership. This has
led to a partnership approach to development plans for the Southbank
area in a way which could not previously have been envisaged.
The key to bringing to various landowners in the area together
has been a commitment by "Kirkintilloch's Initiative"
to consider funding essential infrastructure such as improved
road access. This commitment can only be made effective if an
acceptable business plan is brought forward by the landowners.
This approach has the potential to unlock private sector expectations
in terms of land values and allow economic and canal related development
to proceed in the Southbank area. The current draft of the development
plan is attached at Annex 1. Discussions continue between the
Southbank Landowners and the "Kirkintilloch's Initiative"
on acceptable development mixes, fair land values and the level
of contribution required to allow development to proceed. The
detailed negotiations have yet to be completed. However, discussions
are taking place in a spirit of partnership and there is an expectation
that a beneficial canal related development which is acceptable
to all landowners in the area will emerge from the process.
The East Dunbartonshire Millennium Link Group is a co-ordinating
group made up of the key partners involved in implementing the
Millennium Link project in East Dunbartonshire. An Action Plan,
which is very much a working document has been developed. It identifies
a number of projects and actions that, when pulled together will
comprehensively achieve the aim of the project. As such a number
of actions identified are already underway, indeed some have even
been completed. This Action Plan is available if required.
1.1 North Lanarkshire Council fully supports the Millennium
Link Project and recognises the significant benefits it will bring.
The Council has long been involved in the promotion and development
the canal, as was its predecessor in the area, Cumbernauld and
Kilsyth District Council which contributed towards more minor
projects over many years.
North Lanarkshire Council agreed to contribute towards the
funding of the Millennium Link in recognition of the major economic,
environmental and social benefits that the project would bring
not only to North Lanarkshire, but also to many parts of Central
Scotland. The Council's initial financial contribution was £934,438
(the local authorities' contributions were calculated on the basis
of population rather than the length of canal within the area).
A further £346,000 was given towards the funding shortfall,
giving a total contribution of £1,280,438.
2. The Forth and Clyde Canal in North Lanarkshire
2.1 The section of the Forth and Clyde Canal in North
Lanarkshire is approximately 3km in length and lies between the
town of Kilsyth, to the north, and Cumbernauld to the south. The
canal passes through the Kelvin Valley, with the remains of the
Antonine Wall, a Scheduled Ancient Monument running parallel,
about ½ km to the south. The length of the canal as it passes
through North Lanarkshire is rural in character, and in an area
of generally high environmental quality.
2.2 Less than 1km to the north lies the historic burgh
of Kilsyth. A former weaving and mining town, its historic centre
remains as a conservation area, with narrow, now pedestrianised
street and adjacent market square and town park. Today it is largely
a commuter settlement. The population has remained static for
many years, and employment is steady. There is however an area
of the town, where unemployment rates are higher than the North
2.3 Croy, at a similar distance to the south of the Canal
is a mining village, with one major quarry still in operation,
and immediately adjacent to the settlement. There are no other
job opportunities in the village itself which comprises almost
entirely of public sector housing although a proportion of this
has been purchased in recent years.
3. Policies Affecting the Canal
3.1 The Council through its Draft Strategic Development
Framework recognises the significance of the Canal in terms of
tourism opportunity, and also the high quality of the surrounding
environment which needs to be protected and enhanced. It aims
to accommodate improved economic performance by promoting the
Millennium Link with the Campsie Hills (to the north) as tourist
development areas linked to Kilsyth. At the same time it will
protect valued environmental resources by interpreting and managing
access to the Forth and Clyde Canal and the Antonine Wall and
pursuing increased access linkages across the Kelvin Valley, especially
for walkers and cyclists. Similarly the local enterprise company,
Scottish Enterprise Lanarkshire, through its rural plan for the
Lanarkshire economy, supports the Millennium Link and proposes
to explore opportunities to extend visitor excursions into surrounding
3.2 The length of Canal in North Lanarkshire is protected
by Greenbelt zoning and some of its length is adjacent to or included
within Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation which are afforded
further protection from development.
3.3 It has been long recognised however that limited
development opportunities do exist adjacent to the Canal, and
these are identified as Auchinstarry, where British Waterways
have proposals for a marina/moorings, at Craigmarloch where a
former stables building worthy of retention and conversion exists
adjacent to a vehicular bridge crossing, and also at Wynford where
a further vehicular crossing, recently upgraded by the Millennium
Link project is situated adjacent to a small number of houses,
a car park and popular fishing area.
In summary therefore the main aims of existing policies are
to ensure that the rural nature of this stretch of Canal is maintained
and enhanced, whilst recognising some limited development opportunities
in the areas identified.
4. Development Opportunities
4.1 As noted above, Auchinstarry lies an area where limited
development can take place. There is a small existing settlement
and the British Waterway's proposals for a small marina is likely
to attract associated development. Already there are a number
of visitors (day) to this area which has a popular park/picnic
area and climbing attraction created in 1980 from an old quarry.
4.2 At Craigmarloch there have been a number of proposals
for restaurant type facilities based on conversion of the existing
building. None of these has materialised to date, but there is
currently interest in a much larger proposal for this area to
include a variety of recreational uses.
5. Employment Potential
5.1 From the above it is clear that job opportunities
immediately associated with the Canal will be very limited, unlike
some of the built up areas through which the Canal passes. It
is the Council's, and some of its partners aims, therefore to
harness the additional activities and visitors which the Canal
generates to promote development and job opportunities in the
surrounding areas, particularly in Croy and Kilsyth. It is recognised
that the impact will not be immediate, but is likely to grow with
increased use of the canal in the future.
6. Specific Projects
6.1 The Council and Strathclyde Building Preservation
Trust currently have a proposal to convert a key Listed Building
in the centre of Kilsyth to an internet café and tourism
information centre. This in itself will provide employment opportunities,
but it is hoped that by bringing into use such an important and
central building, and by the uses intended, this will inject some
vitality into the core of the historic town thereby making it
more attractive to visitors, and links with the Canal, at Auchinstarry
would be part of this project.
6.2 There is currently a proposal by the private sector
to develop land adjacent to the Canal to the west of Auchinstarry
for housing, a hotel, a golf course and clubhouse, holiday chalets
and leisure facilities. Whilst undoubtedly this has the potential
to create a relatively high number of jobs, the proposal does
not accord with the Council's policy of protecting the natural
environment of the Canal.
6.3 Previous proposals for a visitor centre adjacent
to the Antonine Wall did not materialise due mainly to lack of
finance, however, it is recognised that this significant heritage
attraction is currently under promoted and its proximity to the
Canal and the potential for increased visitors make such a proposal
worth revisiting. Clearly there would be employment potential
in the future.
The main aim is to protect the attractive rural surroundings
of the Canal as it passes through this part of the Kelvin Valley.
Whilst recognising that this means limiting development opportunities,
it is also important to note that from the west, this is the first
"countryside" area visitors will experience, and it
is considered that this in itself will be an attraction, and encourage
people to stay in North Lanarkshire. It is therefore the aim of
the Council to attract such visitors into surrounding areas to
the benefit of the wider economy of the area.
1.1 This submission to The Scottish Affairs Committee
gives a brief description of the Millennium Link Project, details
the nature and level of financial support for the project by Falkirk
Council and considers the potential for the project to impact
on the local economy of the Falkirk Council area.
2. The Millennium Link Project
2.1 The Millennium Link project aims to re-open coast
to coast and city to city canal navigation along the Forth and
Clyde and Union Canals. The Link project, managed by British Waterways
but funded from a number of mainly public sector sources, will
be completed in the spring of 2002.
2.2 The programme of project works has involved the removal
of all obstructions to navigation. These obstructions have been
mainly roads which were built across the canals without allowing
for boats or people to pass below. In other areas, the canals
were infilled. The major project works have been constructing
new bridges; building new sections of canal; renewing canal locks;
dredging; upgrading towpaths and improving canal access points;
landscaping and the provision of visitor facilities.
2.3 The centrepiece of the Millennium Link is the re-establishment
of the historic link between the two canals at Falkirk by means
of an extension to the Union Canal, a tunnel under the Antonine
Wall and an aqueduct leading to the Falkirk Wheel, which will
lift boats between the two canals, and a visitor centre.
3. Falkirk Council Support For The Project
3.1 Falkirk Council has given strong support to the Millennium
Link project since its conception by British Waterways. At one
level, the project had to be welcomed as it represented a large
"windfall" investment in the area but it was also recognised
that the project had synergy with, and relevance to, a number
of existing corporate policies and strategies such as its Structure
and Local Plans (including the Forth and Clyde Local Plan) and
Economic Development, Environmental and Urban Regeneration Strategies.
3.2 The Council's support has been across two main areas,
namely (a) assisting and facilitating British Waterways undertake
the various engineering works to re-open the canals to navigation
and (b) through the provision of project funding.
3.3 Engineering Works: To facilitate British Waterways'
construction programme, significant Council officer time has been
spent negotiating and handling land sales / transfers and dealing
with numerous planning applications, road and traffic management
issues. The Council's contribution to the engineering works has
been boosted by its own construction programmes such as the North
Orbital Road which routes industrial and through traffic away
from the canal, facilitating British Waterways to remove a bridge
3.4 Funding: Falkirk Council has made a capital contribution
to the Millennium Link costs of £550500 which represents
7 per cent of the total project costs ( based on a total cost
of £78.3 million, approx. £35 million of which is within
the Falkirk area).
4. Economic Impact
4.1 Promoting and encouraging the diversification of
the local economy and building on sectoral strengths are key themes
within the Council's Economic Development Strategy. Modern industry
and the information technology revolution must, of course, play
a large part in generating the jobs and income of the future but
the restoration of the canals is seen as offering significant
potential for the local tourism, leisure and heritage sectors.
4.2 The Millennium Link is consistent with the Council's
existing strategy of building up the tourism market. Developing
new canal-related facilities will generate additional visitors
to the area and the spin-off should boost return on other investments
already made or committed. Another welcome feature is that as
the canals pass through many different areas and communities,
the benefits of the Link need not be confined to one or only a
4.3 Importantly, it is recognised that the Millennium
Link has the potential to transform the scale of the tourism industry
and its economic impact on the area. It is as a fast forward route
to developing leisure, heritage and tourism facilities, including
the creation of the Falkirk Wheel, that the Millennium Link really
excites Falkirk Council. The high profile of the project gives
the Council an opportunity to enhance the image of the area, turning
what is arguably its negative, industry-related image in Scotland,
and perhaps its non-image further afield, into a much more positive
and widespread understanding of Falkirk as a location.
4.4 Latest statistics indicate that tourism supports
some 1600 jobs in the Falkirk Council area and generates over
£57 million of income per annum. The Millennium Link project
will, it is estimated, generate additional income of £15
million p.a. and help create of the order of 1000 new jobs over
a period of up to 20 years within the Council's area.
4.5 It is the private sector which will create the new
jobs arising out of the Millennium Link. The role of the public
sector organisations and agencies is to create the environment
in which the private sector will wish to seize the investment
opportunities presented by the re-opening of the canals to navigation.
4.6 There is evidence, however, that there is a degree
of uncertainty in the market place as to the viability of commercial
ventures at the Falkirk Wheel and other sites. The major constraint
is the cost of providing adequate infrastructure. Although certain
types of development, such as housing and retail, can fund the
required infrastructure costs, they would also displace the potential
development of facilities which bring visitors and therefore limit
future economic benefits, as well as being contrary to current
local planning policies and guidelines. Securing the right type
of investment in the longer term is much more important than permitting
any sort of development now.
4.7 The economic potential of the Millennium Link will
only be realised if the Council, other agencies and partners engage
in a process of planning, co-operation and promotion to facilitate
development. In this process, the Council has a key role to play
utilising its statutory responsibilities, particularly those of
planning (structure and local), transportation and infrastucture
planning and development and its discretionary powers of general
4.8 The Council has, after extensive consultation, produced
a Canal Corridor Development Framework which includes an opportunities
appraisal of 10 key sites in the Falkirk area. This document sets
out the context to the canal corridor and the factors which will
influence the scale and nature of canal-side development. It gives
guidance to developers and the Council (and partners) alike, sets
an agenda for the Council's (and partners) own proactive efforts
to regenerate the canal corridor and assists the Council (and
partners) in responding to canal-related proposals from the private
4.9 The cross-agency group which produced the Canal Corridor
Development Framework has evolved as the Millennium Link Development
Group, providing a vehicle, through an Action Plan, for identifying
and promoting development opportunities and co-ordinating work
carried out by the various partners.
4.10 Within the context of the Canal Corridor Development
Framework the Council is currently actively engaged in the following
Jointly investigating with Scottish Enterprise
Forth Valley the development potential and constraints of land
around The Falkirk Wheel together with providing a vision for
the development of the area and how the various components for
successful and sustainable development can best be secured;
With Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley and British
Waterways researching, designing and establishing an appropriate
partnership model to enable key sites to be developed and the
wider economic benefits of the Millennium Link to be delivered;
Assisting United Distillers and Vintners in marketing
the former Rosebank Distillery site for a mix of tourism, leisure,
commercial and heritage uses;
Planning the development of a Park and Ride facility
(with Transport Challenge Fund and European Regional Development
Fund financial support) to the north of the Falkirk Wheel site
to provide the first element of a new access road to the Wheel
as well as providing bus and car parking facilities for Wheel
Working with the Central Scotland Countryside
Trust to deliver landscaping and footpath access improvements
along the canals within the Central Scotland Forest.
4.11 In addition to the Millennium Link offering the
potential for key site development and investment, the project
also affords scope for the public sector agencies to:
Work with canalside and non-canalside leisure/tourism
businesses to help them maximise their business potential arising
out of the Link;
Work with other non-leisure canalside businesses
to improve their environment and/or diversify into canal-related
Promote new canal-related business opportunities,
Assist entrepreneurs with canal-related business
5.1 The Millennium Link is a project of national and
international significance. It is affording the Falkirk area significant
opportunities to create new, and safeguard existing, jobs, enhance
its image and promote itself as a business location.
5.2 Although the Millennium Link was conceived as a fitting
celebration of the new Millennium, the Council has realised that
it will be involved in the project over the long term. It is determined
that the Link, and the Falkirk Wheel site in particular, will
deliver appropriate and significant economic benefits. Such benefits
will be realised over a period of time and involve effective partnership
working between public sector organisations and between the public
and private sectors.
5.3 Whilst the Millennium Link has already stimulated
private sector development and investment interest, further planning,
pump-priming and marketing input will be required from the public
sector over a period of years in order to build up the right mix
of development and to maximise the economic return to the area.
1. The landscape setting of the Union Canal as it crosses
West Lothian is the most attractive of the course of the lowland
waterway between Edinburgh and Glasgow. Its physical constraints
however, that of depth and width, limit the type of boat traffic
that is able to manoeuvre the channel. In addition, the distances
between settlements within the county, and also the distance of
these from Ratho in the east and The Wheel to the west, will be
a significant influence on the nature of day visits in terms of
travelling time, even at the maximum boat speed of 3 miles/hour.
In time, the development of boat/bus trips may overcome this.
2. The Council thus considers that the future job creation
opportunities will be much influenced by these factors. While
it is anticipated that the local economy will benefit in due course
from long distance walkers, cyclists and boaters using local facilities,
the related job creation prospects will be limited. The exception
may be Linlithgow as an attractive cultural heritage centre but
the limited available space for related enterprises within the
canal basin, and also its distance from The Wheel, will be constraints.
3. Tentative proposals for canal linked marinas have
been made at Broxburn and Winchburgh but the economic viability
of such facilities is questioned in relation to the type of user
allowed by the physical dimensions of the canal. It must be stressed
however, that the funding provided by West Lothian Council was
not reliant on job creation. This has been regarded as an added
value in the longer term with the immediate benefits being to
the West Lothian communities in relation to access and amenity.
However, the development of the tourism potential of the canal
is identified in the West Lothian Tourism Action Plan and the
Council is committed to this.
1. Background and Context
The City of Edinburgh Council is pleased to support the Millennium
Link project and sees the project as positively meeting a number
of key Council objectives and aims in the areas of regeneration,
local economic development, recreational and community development.
In short, the Council see the Link project turning a "liability"
into an "asset".
The Edinburgh stretch of the Union Canal some 10 miles, running
from the Western boundary to the City Centre, varies from a disused
eyesore and potential hazard in places, to an isolated, but pleasant
suburban stretch of water, to a "culverted" pipeline.
The canal runs through the public housing area of Wester Hailes,
the suburban areas of Craiglockhart and Slateford and through
the inner-city tenemental areas of Dalry/Fountainbridge/Tollcross/and
Merchiston, terminating in the derelict and unsightly basins at
The Millennium Link proposal was championed by a number of
local canal activists still using the canal. It was also very
positively endorsed by the Wester Hailes community as being an
opportunity to turn a derelict liability, often forgotten, or
little used by the communities through which it ran, into a vehicle
for both environmental and economic regeneration.
The estimated cost/spend in restoring the Link through Edinburgh
was substantial at £17 million, as this involved construction
of a new length of canal and the removal of a number of obstacles.
The Wester Hailes restoration alone was identified at £8
million. Within this budget the City of Edinburgh Council have
now contributed £1.7 million.
In supporting the project the Council recognised that the
benefits accruing would relate to a number of different areas
including recreational, regeneration, and local economic development.
There was also recognition that the project was an imaginative
investment in the future, rather than a "quick fix",
particularly in economic development terms.
The Council are aware that the Committee will have access
to the policy documents, impact studies, and consultancy reports
prepared on behalf of the Link project and will be hearing presentations
from the key project sponsors. Accordingly this memorandum of
evidence will seek to expand or interpret this material rather
than reproduce it, with an analysis of the developmental potential
"on the ground", in Edinburgh.
Also this report will seek to cover only the economic development/employment
aspects of the project, as being of particular concern to the
Committee. However, the Committee should take recognition of the
fact that the "value of the link, in Edinburgh, also lies
with the development of its recreational/cultural/community potential
in the diverse communities through which it passes.
In considering structuring this report, we also feel it would
be useful to make reference to the overall concept used by the
Link Programme Management, in looking at "Corridors of Opportunity",
these being; regeneration, tourism, social inclusion, environment,
operations, SME, and development whilst recognising that in Edinburgh
the development proposals and potential outlined often span a
number of these themes and can be seen to be clearly inter-related.
2. Employment Potential
In respect of the Edinburgh stretch of the canal, it is perhaps
startling how quickly has been the change of the perception of
the canal from "liability" to "asset" as a
result of the Link project.
We believe dormant potential is being rapidly awoken, with
the canal being increasingly seen as an exciting city-centre water
feature with the added attraction of activity/linkage to Glasgow,
the Forth and the Clyde, and of course the "hub" attraction
of the Falkirk Wheel. We believe the "inter-connectedness"
of the proposal which is the "vision" of the Link has
provided an extra valuable ingredient in making both canal-related
and canalside development/activity attractive and now possible.
It is recognised that the economic development potential
and the resultant benefits in terms of employment generation as
a result of the project will be a "slow burn", and will
be developed over time following the physical realisation of the
Link. Also much of the additional activity and benefit will accrue
from private sector development and activity. Accordingly whilst
it is possible to identify key development areas/themes/potential,
actual projects and proposals will develop over time as the private
sector leverage is realised over say the next 10 year period.
However indicative employment generation can be outlined
on the basis of the potential identified both in geographical
and thematic terms.
The following text identifies some of the key employment
generating potential areas along the Edinburgh stretch of the
canal. This is followed by brief comments related to the "Corridors
of Opportunity" concept introduced by the Pieda study which
complements the geographic element with the key themes. Both identify
significant and substantial potential for employment outcomes
over time but with a requirement for a range of resources/activities
from both the public and private sector to "make things happen".
The derelict terminus/basin of the Union Canal will be transformed
into a £60 million development of office, leisure, and residential
canal side development.
150,000 square feet of new prestigious office
development seen as an extension of Edinburgh's emerging new financial
district based around Festival Square.
90 new waterfront apartments.
A new vibrant public space anchored around up-market
bars and restaurants, with well designed and accessible waterfront
public open space and walkways.
The complex is intended to act as a catalyst to
kick start the commercial potential of the canal and provide a
fitting "end of link".
Related canal facilities and activities will also
be included providing a successful start-off, or end point of
the Edinburgh end of the Link.
Both commercial and the resultant public open
spaces and developments will provide significant regeneration
to a rundown, brown field area of the City centre, both extending
and developing the financial district, and providing quality urban
open-space for the communities of Tollcross and Fountainbridge.
It is anticipated that the development will accommodate up
to 650 new jobs in a disadvantaged/inner city area in
a range of sectors and job types from local office/employment/administration
to leisure industry and canal related employment.
A DEVELOPING CANAL
Whilst the Edinburgh Quay development is attracting most
attention, the larger Lochrin Basin envelope from Fountainbridge
to Gilmore Place and the Leamington Bridge represents further
potential for more mixed development generating over time a "canal
quarter" feel. Here further residential, commercial, craft,
and canal/link related development and facilities is a possibility,
together with possible further large-scale redevelopments to maximise
waterside attractiveness. It is anticipated that such development
will be private-sector led, and that the creation of the Link
will have had a very significant pump-priming effect in what has
been up until now a poor quality, decaying back land series of
casual and informal land uses.
In further development, a modest target of at least a further
50 created jobs would be a modest estimate based on further commercial,
recreational, craft, and tourism activities.
From Lochrin to Wester Hailes the canal passes through a
range of stable, city and suburban communities which to some extent
turn their back on the canal. Along the line of canal there are
a number of vacant of under-utilised sites of varying sizes and
in a variety of public/private ownership. There is considerable
potential to "reorientate" these sites towards the canal
and the attractive water-frontage it affords increasing value
and potential. A range of developments could be considered from
leisure/recreational, office/studio space, residential, and canal
related uses. Innovative office development off Craiglockhart
Road on a small infill site creating a range of small attractive
office suites provides a good example of what can be achieved.
Public agency support will be targeted at developing this potential
in inner city areas/disadvantaged communities such as Tollcross/Merchiston/Fountainbridge.
This range of new uses will create a range of new employment
opportunities along the length of the canal, in a number of sectors
A key criteria in supporting the Link proposal was seen as
the support for the Councils ongoing regeneration strategy for
the Wester Hailes community as exemplified by the major shopping
centre redevelopment, and major housing restructuring and new
The completed canal has transformed the urban environment,
establishing an attractive unique feature running through the
area. Undoubtedly the major task now is to ensure that the Link
contributes to the sustainable regeneration of the area, and that
the physical Link is built upon with economic, social, cultural
and recreational initiatives.
The canal and the possible creation of a range of new facilities
and waterside sites creates potential for local economic development
projects creating new training and employment opportunities for
The following is a sample of the proposals currently being
explored by both local groups and the relevant development agencies:
New Community/Training Centre
Community Café/Training Project
Community Property Development
Community Boat/Water Edge Project
Canal Side Commercial Development
It is anticipated that proactive intervention and public/private
support will generate a range of new activities, uses, and development,
a key aim of which would be the creation of community value,
local employment, and job-related training opportunities.
It is particularly pleasing to note in Edinburgh that there
are also a range of excellent initiatives/activities in other
areas, which with the completion of the Link will create further
Edinburgh Canal Centre: Ratho
Represents a major growth node on the Link with an established
Centre based on the Bridge Inn, Ratho. The owner, a renowned canal
champion proposes further investment in special Link Boat Trips
and Hires, enhanced facilities and general expansion.
Linkages to National Rock Climbing Centre/Water of Leith Walkway
Both major lottery funded projects have the potential for
enhanced joint working with the canal, maximising the employment/tourism/recreational
Potential of the third sector/voluntary groups
Edinburgh has a strong tradition of voluntary action. Working
with specialist groups such as the Seagull Trust/Edinburgh Canal
Society, and Local Community Councils and Action Groups will generate
a range of employment opportunities and training projects and
programmes particularly targeted at disadvantaged groups and community
regeneration. Local Community Enterprise and Social Enterprise
agencies will also be active in maximising the employment and
training benefits of the canal.
The above range of sites, groups, opportunities, and activities
provide a brief review of the undoubted potential the new Link
provides in creating real and additional local employment and
This potential can be clearly linked to the Corridor of Opportunity
concept within the Pieda report; namely:
Edinburgh will see significant regeneration benefits as a
result of the Link, with the communities of Wester Hailes, Merchiston,
Tollcross, and Fountainbridge. In Wester Hailes, the link will
combine with other major regeneration initiatives such as the
Retail Centre/Leisure redevelopment and major housing redevelopment
to create a new heart to the Community. New initiatives particularly
in vocational training and community/social enterprise will maximise
the local economic development potential of the Link over time.
The Link, with the major flagship development of Edinburgh
Quay/Canal quarter will substantially regenerate the brown field/backlandinner
city areas of Longstone/ Slateford/Tollcross/Fountainbridge/Merchiston,
creating nearby and accessible local employment opportunities.
It is anticipated that Edinburgh Quay/Canal will form a "secondary"
tourist attraction in Edinburgh to complement core hub sites.
It is hoped new leisure provision will be complemented by craft,
local history, educational, recreational, tourist and canal/link
facilities. These will combine to develop an exciting "end
of link" envelope with a wide range of uses and activities.
In an increasingly competitive international and national tourism
market, secondary or complimentary tourism attractions such as
the Quay, the Edinburgh Canal Centre, the Rock Climbing Centre,
are essential for a competitive tourist location. The Link, and
its potential will make a significant addition to Edinburgh's
overall attractiveness for visitors and visitor spend.
It is anticipated tourism development at the Link will
generate a range of new tourist facilities and companies and hence
a range of new and accessible employment opportunities.
Social Inclusion Corridor
It is important that local communities "take ownership"
of the canal running through their area. The Council, in particular,
is keen to ensure that the benefits occurring in respect of the
Link can be accessed by local people and communities. There will
be ongoing developments in Wester Hailes, a Social Inclusion Partnership
area, to maximise local economic benefit through property development,
community and social enterprise, third sector activity, and training
and employment access initiatives.
Special interest groups such as the Canal Society and Seagull
Trust represent the needs of special interest groups such as people
with a disability. There is considerable potential to develop
community enterprise along the canal and in relation to its activities,
this will be supported by key local agencies and funds.
In employment terms, potential exists to develop and interpret
the environmental aspects of the canal, links will be made with
local communities, community education, and related bodies like
Scottish Natural Heritage, Water of Leith Trusts, Scottish Arts
Council. Arts and recreational development strategies will generate
related employment and training opportunities.
There is clearly a major challenge to bring the Link to life
again as a transportation corridor, albeit one used for recreation
and tourism. The success of the Link in total will be assisted
by a vibrant and exciting end/start in Edinburgh. It is anticipated
that there is significant potential in canal related tourism,
in terms of craft development, accommodation, refreshment, boat
hire, boat development, berthing and maintenance, and related
activities. This will generate a range of new and additional employment
opportunities in the growing tourism/recreation sector.
It is anticipated that canal related activity, craft/arts
industry/recreational retail-commercial/community companies, and
training enterprises, plus property developments and refurbishment
will stimulate the start-up and growth of a variety of SMEs with
strong canal links in one way or another. Given the impetus of
Edinburgh Quay it is suggested the target of ten such companies
in Edinburgh, in the Pieda study is a modest one, and could well
Edinburgh Quay is the flagship development opportunity. Further
opportunities exist in the remainder of the Lochrin envelope,
up to and past the Leamington Bridge. The reopening of the canal
will also open up a further range of development opportunities
along its length, including possible major development proposals,
and also development packages in Wester Hailes.
This potential will create new activities and floor space
and generate a range of new employment opportunities.
The Council believes that the development of the Millennium
Link project will create a range of concrete benefits for Edinburgh,
there will be:
positive community impacts;
regeneration and environmental impacts;
local economic development and employment impacts.
The effectiveness and "value" of the project relates
to all these three aspects.
In relation to economic development potential, the Link concept
and vision, and now the physical creation of the Link, has led,
and will lead to the canal as being considered not a neglected
liability, but a potential asset. Here we recognise that the development
of this asset will be a "slow burn", with the use of
public/private resources, and a mix of developments/activities
developing over time. The Council is committed, within its resource
constraints to enabling the release of that potential in partnership
with a variety of other agencies, public and private.
Council support and emphasis will concentrate on ensuring
that the benefits of the Link, and its "ownership",
accrue to the local communities along its path, with special reference
to special needs groups, urban regeneration, and areas of disadvantage.
In respect of employment creation potential, it is clearly
difficult to project precise numbers where development is both
public and private, in a variety of locations and themes, and
The Pieda report identified the following Economic Development
benefits for the Edinburgh area, namely:
| Permanent jobs||291
| New/Growth SMEs||10
| Temporary Jobs (person years)
| Community Jobs||9
We believe these targets are realistic, and are likely to
be considerably exceeded over time.
Including the Edinburgh Quay development, and estimating
the economic development growth potential elsewhere along the
Edinburgh stretch, we would estimate that a reasonable target
for new jobs accommodated/grown along the length of the canal
to be around 800, over a 10 year time span.
This, of course, includes employment accommodated in new
property development at the Quay, which provides valuable high
tech/high quality office development extending the financial quarter.
Even if only a third of this estimated total could be directly
linked to canal related development/job creation, this still demonstrates
the clear job potential of the Millennium Link in Edinburgh, and
is in line with Pieda report targets.
In Edinburgh, the Council contributed some £1.7 million
to a total estimated Edinburgh project cost of £17 million.
The project will meet regeneration, community, recreational, and
economic development objectives. In respect of employment leading
to the creation of a target of 800 jobs over time. This figure
does not take into account indirectly generated economic benefits
or activities, or the benefits of the other key objectives of
regeneration, community development, environment and recreation.
Also the investment can be seen as being placed in sustainable
community infrastructure. In this respect, the public investment
in the Link is seen as cost effective and sustainable over the
The Millennium Link is an exciting visionary project which
over time will bring discernible benefits in terms of economic
development, environment, regeneration, and community development
to Central Scotland. The City of Edinburgh Council look forward
to working in partnership with other authorities, agencies, and
communities, rising to the challenge of maximising the undoubted
potential of the Link in delivering sustainable economic and employment