Chapelcross site could regenerate economy

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THOUSANDS of jobs could be in the pipeline with the second phase of the redevelopment of Chapelcross near Annan.

The potential for the site to grow the area's economy cannot be underestimated, says councillor Ronnie Nicholson, council leader.

Partners from Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Enterprise and the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency (NDA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding marking the progression to the next phase of the Chapelcross Development CX Project.

For five years the council, the NDA and Scottish Enterprise have collaborated on delivering the successful CX Project, which helps businesses in the area to flourish.

Phase one was set up to mitigate the pressures after the nuclear power station closed. The first phase has been so successful, generating a turnover of more than £3.808m that it was extended by six months and will not finish until August. To date, it has helped almost 300 people, with nearly 200 businesses supported.

The scope of the second phase of the project could provide employment for many. It has the potential to attract enterprises such as low carbon energy providers, a growth industry, because the site has easy access to the National Grid.

Councillor Ronnie Nicholson said: “The memorandum of understanding isn’t just a piece of paper. It marks the start of an ambitious programme which should leave a legacy for future generations.

"The agreement between the key agencies shows how serious we are about working together to find a viable future for Chapelcross and bring jobs to the area.

"We cannot underestimate the potential the site has not only because it's next to the motorway but also its links to the National Grid.

"We would encourage businesses to jump at the chance to become part of this exciting opportunity and use the help which will be available from this joint agreement.”

Gavin Stevenson, council chief executive, said: “Since we started our journey, the world has changed. Scotland is a major exporter of energy and on the border we're in a unique and prime position to exploit the benefits. This site will be our legacy.

"This programme has the potential to regenerate our rural economy and by attracting the correct investment and businesses, we could build our economy to break the stranglehold of low wages in our region.

"Both the UK and Scottish governments must step up and recognise it wouldn’t take a huge amount of strategic investment to develop this site. An enterprise zone in a prime position on the border is good for businesses from both sides."

Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 10:14AM
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