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An ambitious framework for growing Clackmannanshire's economy over the next 20 years is taking shape.
The progress is being made as the Council progresses its potentially transformational plans as part of the Stirling & Clackmannanshire City Deal bid.
City Deals are a mixture of public and private sector money aimed at promoting economic growth. These long term improvements aim to allow everyone in the area to reach their full potential.
Initial priorities for Clackmannanshire were identified at two stakeholder workshops facilitated by the Scottish Futures Trust late in 2016. These have been further informed by the series of stakeholder workshops that took place between January and May 2017. Over 80 individuals from a range of organisations have participated in this process.
This process generated a range of potential projects which are being refined by Council officers under three thematic headings:
'Investor Confidence' will increase the level of private sector investment in the area, bringing forward new business premises, housing development sites, transport infrastructure and new schools; regenerating Alloa Town Centre and allowing access to enhanced digital infrastructure and digital skills to create a Smart County.
'Inclusive Growth' will "invest in our people at all stages of life to ensure that we have a well skilled, healthy and resilient population and an innovative, engaged and productive workforce." Developments include an Achievement Campus in Sauchie; innovative learning systems that build on the attainment challenge; and family support to address poverty and exclusion from learning, employment and training opportunities.
'Sustainable Place' supports the broader aims of the City Region Deal through investment in the green sector: green jobs, green infrastructure and green energy, although the benefits apply across the economic and social fields as well as the environmental field. Included are developments at Alloa Harbour and the riverside to provide a focus for regenerating the Alloa South and East area. Plus a community energy network across the programme area with a focus on geothermal and other sustainable energy sources.
A focus on the geographical areas of Alloa, Sauchie and Forestmill has been identified on the basis of major development projects already approved in the Local Development Plan which require significant public sector support to release land and private investment. The 'people' aspects of the projects such as employability, health & well-being and attainment will also be available to residents who need them across the whole county. In addition the positive economic impacts on these geographies will have wider impacts across the county and the region, for example increased job opportunities
Council Leader Les Sharp said: "The City Deal bid is a real opportunity to make a significant boost to the local economy and for all our residents to benefit from sustainable, high quality employment that our projects will provide. It's potentially a long-term investment for the area and I'm pleased to see that we've taken account of local views as part of the development of the bid."