Select Committee on Scottish Affairs Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum submitted by the Local Authorities (FCS 1)


  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 reports.

  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.

George Thom

Strategic Director—Development & Environment

East Dunbartonshire Council

November 2001


1  Introduction

  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 in.

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 for action.

  2.2  The DTZ Pieda report "Millennium Link—Socio-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 years—see 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 Riverside—A 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 Riverside—A 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 is considerable.

  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.  Conclusion

  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 in:

    (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 place—or are planned—along various stretches of the Canal within the city.

    (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 development;

    —  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 events etc).

    —  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 sections—the "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 Glasgow Branch
—  Speirs WharfGlasgow Branch
—  Applecross BasinGlasgow Branch
—  Firhill BasinGlasgow Branch
—  Ruchill/Lochburn Road Glasgow Branch
—  Stockingfield Junction Glasgow Branch
—  Maryhill LocksMainline
—  Cadder/LambhillMainline
—  Dawsholm ParkMainline
—  Anniesland Business Village Mainline

  The pattern of recent investments and potential opportunities within some of these areas is outlined below.


  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 Firhill—and 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 canal.


  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 point/overnight moorings.

    —  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 area including:

    —  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 and management.


  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 space—which will accommodate up to 560 jobs—at 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 up at

    —  Duntreath

  —  environmental and housing

    —  Knightswood  —  environment

    —  Blairdardie

  —  environment

    —  Westerton

  —  possible stopping point/commercial development /transport interchange

    —  Anniesland

  —  business/leisure/commercial development

    —  Kelvindale

  —  environment

    —  Possil Loch

  —  links to SSSI/possible moorings/commercial development

    —  Balmore

  —  business/commercial development

    —  Lochfauld

  —  environmental improvement

  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.


  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 plans.

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 work—for employment and enterprise—deploying 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

    —  Inclusive communities

    —  A connected place

    —  Learning to compete and

    —  Tourism and leisure.

  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 Strategy

  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.


  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.

2.6  Timescale

  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 benefit

  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 heritage).

  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 business opportunities.

  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 Canals

  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. 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 Link Project.

  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 visitors; and

    3.  encouraging partnership working and ensuring development is properly co-ordinated and integrated with adjacent communities, countryside, tourism facilities and transport infrastructure.


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




    Shirva Stables

    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.  Introduction

  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 Lanarkshire average.

  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 areas.

  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.  Introduction

  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 obstruction.

  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 few locations.

  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 economic development.

  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 sector.

  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 projects:

    —  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 visitors, and

    —  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 activities;

    —  Promote new canal-related business opportunities, and

    —  Assist entrepreneurs with canal-related business ideas.

5.  Conclusion

  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 Lochrin.

  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.

  Included is:

    —  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.


  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 and occupations.


  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 build.

  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 local people.

  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

    —  Hostel for Backpackers

    —  Community Property Development

    —  Community Boat/Water Edge Project

    —  Canal Side Commercial Development

    —  Leisure/Recreational Facilities

    —  Berthing/Tourist Facilities

  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 employment potential:

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.

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 training opportunities.

  This potential can be clearly linked to the Corridor of Opportunity concept within the Pieda report; namely:


Regeneration Corridor

  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/backland—inner city areas of Longstone/ Slateford/Tollcross/Fountainbridge/Merchiston, creating nearby and accessible local employment opportunities.

Tourism Corridor

  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.

Environmental Corridor

  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.

Operational Canals

  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.

SME Corridor

  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 be exceeded.

Development Corridor

  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 is incremental.

  The Pieda report identified the following Economic Development benefits for the Edinburgh area, namely:
—  Permanent jobs
—  New/Growth SMEs
—  Temporary Jobs (person years)
—  Community Jobs

  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 longer term.

  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 impacts.

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Prepared 19 December 2001