An economic development and regeneration project initiated in the aftermath of the closure of the J&B whisky bottling plant in Dumbarton 17 years ago, resulting in the loss of 470 jobs, has been recognised by the Institute of Economic Development (IED) at its inaugural awards.
Through the Lomondgate project, delivered by what is now Strathleven Regeneration Community Interest Company (CIC) – established with support from West Dunbartonshire Council, Scottish Enterprise and beverages giant Diageo – in partnership with Walker Group (Scotland) Ltd, £106 million of capital investment has been attracted to the area against a target of £60 million.
More than 750 people are now employed in a mix of full-time and part-time roles and over £300 million has been generated in the region’s economy by Lomondgate and its businesses including Aggreko, BBC and Whitbread. The remainder of the former site has been redeveloped with 400 new homes by Walker Group, Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey.
The IED singled out Strathleven Regeneration CIC in awarding it the ‘Best Implementation’ prize at its Annual Awards 2017 – a category which recognises those projects where a strategy has been put in place and executed particularly efficiently and effectively.
David Hastings, chief executive of Strathleven Regeneration CIC, said: “Lomondgate is a model for economic development and regeneration which is community-driven and market-led, is based on the strengths of a place and underpinned by a strong, enduring and entrepreneurial partnership across the private, public and third sectors. It has grown to become one of Scotland’s most successful and vibrant developments in a period when property development activity has been at a generational low. It is fantastic to win this award from the IED, as our professional body, and receive UK-level recognition of the hard work of a local regeneration company and its partners.”
IED Chair Bev Hurley, said: “We are delighted to recognise Strathleven Regeneration and the Lomondgate project through our ‘Best Implementation’ award. It is richly deserved. The economic development target for the work was to oversee the creation of more jobs than the original redundancy situation caused. The closure of the J&B plant resulted in 470 job losses and the site has now exceeded this by some distance with 757 people directly employed. As a result of this achievement, and through the impressive use of a Community Interest Company, we are absolutely thrilled to present this award to Strathleven Regeneration.”