AMBITIOUS business proposals that would transform the economic prospects for Ayrshire have been set out by the three local authorities.
The 'Ayrshire Growth Deal' is targeting over £350 million of funding from the Scottish and UK governments to develop a number of exciting projects across the region.
Inclusive growth – creating opportunities that can benefit all of our communities - is core to the development of the Ayrshire Growth Deal.
The projects - included within the Strategic Business Case - are all expected to create jobs and have a wider positive economic impact for Ayrshire and Scotland. They also reflect the strengths and opportunities of the Ayrshire economy.
The Deal will aim to develop further and build on the success of the area's key industries – including Aerospace and Space, Life Sciences and Manufacturing – while providing the infrastructure and support to make our businesses even more innovative and international in their outlook.
It will also seek to enhance Ayrshire's coast and capitalise on the superb opportunities that Ayrshire's harbours and ports provide. The proposed projects will make a major contribution to the delivery of national tourism strategies such as 'Awakening the Giant' (marine tourism) as well as providing opportunities to address issues such as the provision of land for the development of new housing.
North Ayrshire Council's Cabinet approved the 'strategic business cases', which are due to be submitted to the Scottish and UK Governments for further consideration, on Tuesday.
Councillors at East Ayrshire have also approved the plans, while elected members of South Ayrshire are expected to follow suit at a meeting next week.
The submission includes: • over £80m of funding to develop aerospace industries in South Ayrshire • a bid for £53m to develop the Ardeer Peninsula and Irvine Harbourside • £30 million being sought to further develop Life Sciences industries, • £22m of government funding for coastal regeneration in Ardrossan. • £130m to develop manufacturing sites at Moorfield (Ayrshire Engineering Park) AMIC (Ayrshire Manufacturing Investment Corridor) at Bellfield and the redevelopment in the former Johnnie Walker site at Hill Street as a mixed use development. • £15m to develop Marine Tourism across North and South Ayrshire.
The AGD team will get feedback from the UK and Scottish Government and work alongside their partners to inform the next stage of the process.
It is envisaged that this could lead to approval and implementation of an AGD from mid 2017.
Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire, said: "It is fantastic that we have reached this stage and we're excited about the proposals we are putting forward and what it would mean for Ayrshire. We have worked hard to identify projects that will benefit not only our local economies but also the wider Scottish one too.
"Inclusive growth is key to these proposals and we firmly believe that the Ayrshire Growth Deal will deliver economic growth that will enrich all our communities.
"We have consulted extensively with partner organisations and the local business community to identify what the constraints to the Ayrshire economy are and where there is untapped potential for economic growth given the right support being available.
"We feel these proposals are ambitious and would make a huge difference to the Ayrshire economy. We look forward to getting further feedback from the UK and Scottish Governments as we look to submit our final proposals."
Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said: "Some excellent work has taken place with all the partners to get us to this point. We now have a number of projects which are set to transform Ayrshire and if successful, will benefit communities for generations to come. "Prestwick is home to one of the UK's leading aerospace clusters and is likely to be the UK's first operational spaceport. Investment into this sector, will bring economic growth to Ayrshire, Scotland and the UK as a whole. More broadly, Ayrshire has real engineering excellence and the Ayrshire Growth Deal will ensure we continue to compete on a global stage.
"We will continue to work with communities and partners to ensure that people living in Ayrshire have the skills required to take advantage of these opportunities going forward."
Councillor Douglas Reid, Leader of East Ayrshire Council said: "This is a significant milestone for the Ayrshire Growth Deal. The proposals for East Ayrshire will provide the infrastructure that will serve the manufacturing and engineering sectors across Ayrshire and the regeneration projects will help to create over 1000 jobs, which will greatly boost the local economy and benefit our local communities.
The A77 is a key investment corridor for Ayrshire and the improvement of the Bellfield Interchange is critical to the development of this corridor in order to realise the potential for jobs and manufacturing growth. It will create a regionally significant Ayrshire Manufacturing development. The Ayrshire Engineering Park at Moorfield will create serviced high quality business space.
The Halo is an innovative development that will revitalise Kilmarnock and benefit Ayrshire and the West of Scotland. It will create space for enterprise, innovation and entrepreneurs as well as commercial offices to attract new employers to the town. It will complement and add value to the new Ayrshire College.
A fundamental principle of the proposals is to ensure inclusive growth so that all communities benefit. There will be initiatives to support start up, innovation and employment opportunities in Ayrshire's town and villages and programmes to ensure our communities will have the skills to participate in the increased job opportunities that a growing economy will bring.
Taken together the package of proposals will realise the vision for Ayrshire to be a vibrant, outward looking, confident region that will attract investors and visitors and produce an impact across Scotland."