finance

Glasgow City Council leader vows delayed projects along the Clyde won't be abandoned



Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken has vowed that eight Clyde projects, delayed due to the increased cost of the Govan to Partick bridge, will not be abandoned.

The deferred schemes include work on an Expressway footbridge – estimated at £1.2m – and an £11m plan to improve pedestrian and cycle routes around the Scottish Event Campus (SEC).

The projects around the riverside are being postponed because of the extra £12m needed to build the Govan to Partick bridge.

The £29.5m pedestrian and cycle bridge – which had originally been estimated to cost £17.5m – has been described as the “pivotal” project in plans for a Clyde waterfront and West End Innovation Quarter.

Design changes, the rise in the cost of steel and supply chain problems related to the pandemic and Brexit have led to the price jump.

Aitken said the eight held-up schemes are “very important” and alternative funding will be sought to cover their costs, including from the UK Government’s Levelling Up fund.

She said: “I want to emphasise that this is not cancelling these projects, it is not abandoning them.

“While the recommendation is that the sub-projects are deferred, it is also recommended that officers are instructed by committee today to continue to work with stakeholders to support the delivery of these sub-projects through additional sources of funding.”

Speaking at the City Administration Committee this week, the council leader also warned councillors to expect more cost increases across construction plans.

Improvements to the quay walls at the Briggait/Lancefield Quay, estimated at almost £11m, and at Yorkhill Quay, expected to cost £1.2m, will also be pushed back.

The other affected projects include a £3.1m scheme at Govan Graving Docks to ensure Govan “contributes to, and benefits from, the city’s aspiration for a River Park”, as well as work on a Canting Basin bridge, valued at £588,000.

Plans to improve the pedestrian route between Cessnock Subway and Pacific Quay have also been postponed.

The Clyde waterfront and West End Innovation Quarter is being funded by £113m from the Glasgow City Region City Deal, a £1bn investment from the UK and Scottish governments in Glasgow and seven surrounding councils.

Aitken added that the Govan to Partick bridge was the “pivotal sub-project, which in many ways holds together the entire project”.

She said: “The bridge itself will be absolutely transformative for the Clyde waterfront – it will play a key role in supporting regeneration ambitions in Govan and Partick.”

Glasgow’s Labour group leader Malcolm Cunning said the cost of the deferrals is “greater than the increased costs of the bridge connection”, adding other councils in the city region would be facing similar reports on rising cost pressures.

Aitken responded: “You are right, it’s not just this sub-project that is going to be affected by these cost increases, pretty much every construction or infrastructure project that we are involved in is going to be affected by these cost increases.”

She said projects with the “most likelihood of attracting external funding” had been deferred, adding: “Examining sub-projects and saying could we get some money that isn’t City Deal money for these, is a more than worthwhile exercise to be going through.”

City Treasurer Councillor Ricky Bell, who represents Govan, said: “Nobody welcomes the position where we are having to pay out more money than we originally thought, but I think it’s definitely the right decision to go ahead with the bridge.”

He asked for the other projects to be kept “on the radar” as they are “very interconnected, particularly the connection from Cessnock Subway down to the riverfront”.

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