The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Monday, 10 October 2016

Ayrshire Growth Deal moves ahead as all three councils approve plans

Ambitious business proposals to transform Ayrshire’s economic prospects are to be submitted to the UK and Scottish Governments following a landmark agreement. All three Ayrshire Councils have now approved moves to target more than £350 million through the Ayrshire Growth Deal (AGD), after a decision at South Ayrshire Council to rubber stamp the plans.

The Strategic Business Case, recently approved by North and East Ayrshire Councils, was agreed at a meeting of South Ayrshire Council on Thursday 6 October. Councillors also agreed to provide £70,000 from reserves to help support work on the project until the end of September 2017.

[Pictured: Glasgow Prestwick Spaceport is just one of the growth 
areas being looked at as part of the Ayrshire Growth Deal.]

The AGD aims to develop and build on the success of the area’s key industries, including: aerospace and space, life sciences, and manufacturing. With more than 50% of Scotland’s aerospace employees based at Prestwick, and with Glasgow Prestwick Airport’s work to become the UK’s first licensed spaceport, South Ayrshire is in a strong position to capitalise on the economic opportunities these high value, high growth sectors present.

The AGD will also seek to enhance Ayrshire’s coast and capitalise on the opportunities that Ayrshire’s harbours and ports provide. 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.

Councillor Bill McIntosh, Leader of South Ayrshire Council said, “All three Councils stand to reap the rewards of the Ayrshire Growth Deal, and we’re now well placed to take this project forward as we work to realise future growth and create new jobs.

“One of our major focal points is the aerospace and space sectors in Prestwick, which is already home to one of the UK’s leading aerospace clusters, and which could soon become Britain’s first operational spaceport.

“By pooling our resources and taking a partnership approach we stand the best chance of delivering benefits to all parts of Ayrshire as well as to the broader national economy, something that will allow local businesses to stand toe-to-toe with international competition.”

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."

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."

Now that all three Ayrshire Councils have agreed the Strategic Business Case the document can be submitted to the UK and Scottish Governments for consideration. If approved, the AGD could be implemented from mid-2017.

The Strategic Business Case can be found HERE.

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.

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