The Scottish Government must “stump up” on their pledge to invest £6m in Stranraer Waterfront, according to South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth.
The local MSPs comments come as a report to go before Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Economy, Environment and Infrastructure Committee today (21 November) highlights the challenges facing the Waterfront project due to a range of factors including market failure.
Colin Smyth revealed in June that so far the Scottish Government had failed to allocate a single penny of a £6m “pledge” of funding to support the regeneration of Stranraer Waterfront – and the funding won’t even be confirmed until the Government has carried out a spending review at the end of this year.
South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said, “The challenge of market failure is nothing new when it comes to the Waterfront. However, the current economic woes across Scotland and the UK, exasperated by brexit really does mean business confidence is at rock bottom and companies aren’t queuing up to invest in busy city centre developments, never mind projects such the Waterfront where the returns will be a lot smaller. The investment from the public sector is therefore more crucial than ever before to help fill that market failure gap. That’s why it is so disappointment that 18 months since the Scottish Government pledged to invest £6m just before an election, not a penny has even been handed over by the Scottish Government. In fact, it hasn’t even been included in the Government’s budget to date, so they have no idea where the funding will come from”.
“It’s more than 5 years since the council approved the design brief for the East Pier and Port Rodie frontage and so far Dumfries and Galloway Council have spent £5.8m on a range of projects such as the West Pier and regeneration of Agnew Park. However, given the appalling state of the economy, we know it is going to take millions more public money to fill the gap that simply won’t be filled by private sector development and the Scottish Government need to step up to the mark.”
“Local people will rightly be frustrated that the momentum created by the Council’s investment in the Waterfront in recent years hasn’t been built on and both the preferred developer and Scottish Government do need to up their game. We need to keep the pressure on the Scottish Government to make sure when they announce their draft budget in a few weeks they don’t ditch the £6m pledge for Stranraer and they stump up the money to Dumfries and Galloway as a matter of urgency. That would help boost confidence in the private sector and hopefully generate more interest.”