Aug 10 2011 by Sharon Liptrott, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
ANNAN has taken a huge step to getting its long-awaited business park.
Almost £2.5 million is now in the kitty for the potential jobs-boosting centre first put forward almost three years ago.
First Minister Alex Salmond announced a cash injection of almost £1 million for the town as the Scottish cabinet met in Stranraer on Monday.
The £984,355 from European Structural Funds will help create a GLA Regional Industry Park in Annan at an undisclosed site.
The proposed park has been in the pipeline as a means to create new jobs and businesses as Annandale prepares for the loss of more than 400 posts at the former Chapelcross nuclear power station which is currently being decommissioned and defuelled.
The Nuclear Decommissioning Authority has pledged £1.5 million to the scheme if match-funding can be found.
It was initially thought this could be built on the Chapelcross runway but this was later ruled out.
Windermere Road has been a favoured alternative but problems with the condition and status of the access road – which is also delaying a housing development for Annan – has been a factor, although Dumfries and Galloway Council has been working to sort this out.
It is expected that Scottish Enterprise may now also put money into the project, although they are keeping tight-lipped at the moment.
The Scottish Government says a site for the park has yet to be announced but says it will provide “high quality serviced plots for development”.
These will primarily, but not exclusively, be for “key industry, growth companies and inward investors.”
The Scottish cabinet also announced £584,814 in European funding for The South of Scotland Business Competitiveness Project which will focus on Dumfries and Galloway as a whole to help boost the local economy.
Mr Salmond said: “By supporting local initiative these funding awards will benefit the communities where they are based and strengthen business development over the coming years, as well as bringing much needed employment to the area.”
Councillor Roger Grant said: “The investment in Annan is superb news for the wider Gretna, Lockerbie and Annan corridor regeneration programme.”
Last month the NDA, Scottish Enterprise and European Rural Development Fund announced a £2.4 million package for small business start-up units to be built in Annan, Gretna and Lockerbie.
Dumfries MSP Elaine Murray said: “I welcome funding that means the business park in Annan can finally get off the ground.
“It is a boost for the regeneration of the Gretna, Lockerbie and Annan corridor and the most important thing now is to make sure the work is carried out as quickly as possible.”