Hi- tech plan could bring 13,000 jobs

Na­tional en­ergy cen­tre pro­posal could be boost area

Ayrshire Post - - Cumnock And Doon Valley - Sarah Hil­ley

Cum­nock could be­come home to a hi- tech na­tional en­ergy cen­tre.

Scant de­tails of the ven­ture dubbed the ‘ Na­tional En­ergy Re­search and Demon­stra­tion Cen­tre’ emerged at a coun­cil meet­ing last week.

East Ayrshire Coun­cil did not re­veal any other in­for­ma­tion about the pro­posal when ques­tioned.

It is part of the area’s Ayrshire Growth Deal bid to the UK and Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to se­cure more than £ 300 mil­lion.

A full coun­cil meet­ing re­vealed that 13,000 jobs could be cre­ated as part of the bid.

Twenty- one pro­pos­als have been made from all the three coun­cils in Ayrshire, which will be con­sid­ered by the Scot­tish and UK Gov­ern­ments. The coun­cils hope to bag £ 324m of pub­lic cash to trans­form the area.

The eco­nomic growth pro­gramme for East Ayrshire aims for £ 90m to be in­vested in the en­ergy hub, in­dus­trial space at Moor­field in Kil­marnock and other projects.

Com­ment­ing on the over­all fig­ure of £ 324m, coun­cil de­pute ex­ec­u­tive Alex McPhee told coun­cil­lors that it could have been three times that amount.

But he added: “We tried to be re­al­is­tic.”

How­ever, he said that Brexit may put un­cer­tainty on mat­ters.

He listed pro­pos­als for East Ayrshire in­clud­ing the lo­ca­tion of the na­tional en­ergy re­search hub at Cum­nock along with other projects.

SNP coun­cil­lor Jim Roberts said: “We are not in­ter­ested in City Deals. We are look­ing at what the Ayrshire Growth Deal can do for Ayrshire.”

He called for se­nior politi­cians to come to the area to have talks on the deal.

It is hoped the Ayrshire Growth Deal pro­posal will kick­start eco­nomic growth, which has been stag­nant for years.

Par­lia­men­tary Un­der Sec­re­tary of State for Scot­land Lord Dun­can of Spring­bank vis­ited all the coun­cil ar­eas re­cently to dis­cuss the deal.

Fol­low­ing the visit North Ayrshire Coun­cil leader Joe Cul­li­nane said: “We are now clos­ing in on con­clud­ing a deal and feel this could now be a mat­ter of weeks away.”

The coun­cils are work­ing along­side na­tional agen­cies and pri­vate firms need the money to make the dream a re­al­ity.

We’re not in­ter­ested in City Deals. We’re look­ing at what the Ayrshire Growth Deal can do

Growth Coun­cil­lor Jim Roberts

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