Local government and private businesses must work together to ensure the Vale of Leven Industrial Estate has a positive future it has been said.
The business estate near Renton has been beset by anti-social behaviour and a lack of maintenance in recent years, with only a period as a Business Improvement District (BID) resulting in an increase in investment in roads, signage and CCTV - partly funded by businesses in co-operation with West Dunbartonshire Council.
However with the BID scheme having ended and the management trust that replaced it set to fold in the new year, MP Martin Docherty-Hughes, who has been working with businesses in the estate, hopes that a solution can be found that enables it to finally thrive again – despite the challenges presented by the pandemic.
He said: “The Vale of Leven Industrial Estate has been a valuable part of the local economy, employing hundreds of people from the local community for many years and I am keen to work closely with businesses there to ensure that it continues to be a viable area for continued development in the years to come.
“With the devastating short term impact of Covid affecting every single one of us and the longer term impact still relatively unknown, it is vitally important that our local communities are prepared to meet the challenges post -Covid.
“Critically, groups like the Vale of Leven Industrial Estate Management Team, need access to support in preserving what they have at the moment whilst also attracting new businesses to the area.
“In recent weeks I have met with a broad range of partners including the trust and representatives of West Dunbartonshire Council to discuss the challenges faced and it is clear that we all have a part to play.
“By working together, the council, trust and private businesses, I believe that positive action can be taken which will be beneficial to our local area.”
Talk suggests West Dunbartonshire Council could be considering moving a depot to the area, however a council spokesperson refused to be drawn on the speculation – whilst highlighting that any plans have been put on hold by the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “As part of our Depot Rationalisation Project, a number of locations were being considered for future depot provision. No final decision has been made.”
Despite supporting an estimated 800 jobs and being one of the first sites in the area to be equipped with super fast internet, the estate has been beset with issues since the closure of the Polaroid factory for the final time in 2017.
As well being terrorised by motocross bikes, the area has been blighted by fly-tipping, dumped vehicles and motorists ignoring the one-way system – labelled an accident waiting to happen by one concerned business owner.
Travellers also set up camp near Strathleven House in the estate last summer, leaving businesses with a costly eviction and clean up bill.
In 2018 meanwhile the estate hit national headlines after police uncovered more than 1000 cannabis plants with a street value of more than £350,000 in an industrial unit on the site.