Leith Docks deal will mean £1bn boost

An impression of the Waterfront revamp which Mark Lazarowicz believes could be built with the cash. Picture: comp

An impression of the Waterfront revamp which Mark Lazarowicz believes could be built with the cash. Picture: comp

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A MAJOR revamp of Leith Docks, new waterfront developments and upgrades to city’s cycle network are among the investments mooted if Edinburgh scoops a £1 billion funding jackpot.

Hopes of securing a “City Deal” to bankroll a range of major new projects across the Capital have received a boost after two MPs raised the prospect in the House of Commons.

It comes months after Glasgow formally signed an agreement UK and Scottish Governments to bring in £1.3bn of extra investment. The scheme will see Westminster and Holyrood give £500m each in additional grant funding to the city and its surrounding areas.

Now, two Edinburgh politicians – Labour’s Mark Lazarowicz and Liberal Democrat Mike Crockart – have asked Edinburgh might win extra finance on the same basis and “positive responses” are said to be coming from government.

Mr Lazarowicz said a City Deal for Edinburgh could be used for the redevelopment of Leith docks, completing the upgrading of the waterfront area, new transport infrastructure and training for the long-term unemployed.

He said: “We urgently need to invest in infrastructure to create the basis for sustainable economic growth and in skills training to make sure that people can take opportunities that investment presents. Leith Docks would be an ideal place to start here in Edinburgh – redevelopment proposals have been delayed, and there are unfinished environmental upgrades along many places in the waterfront.

“City deals elsewhere have also brought in new funding for transport infrastructure, and Edinburgh and the wider Lothians clearly need investment in that.

“A big boost in cycling facilities could be part of such a bid as well.”

Mike Crockart, MP for Edinburgh West, said a City Deal could include establishing an infrastructure fund to support improved transport access to Edinburgh Airport via rail and road; investment in the International Business Gateway development site; and supporting further growth in the thriving business start-up sector.

Edinburgh is discussing the terms of a City Deal proposal with other local authorities in East Lothian, Midlothian, West Lothian, Fife and the Borders, council leader Andrew Burns said.

He insisted it was too early to focus on what the cash might be used for but insisted Cabinet Office Minister Greg Clark’s comments in parliament had been “constructive”.

And he added: “We are getting very positive initial responses from government level.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com