A FORMER Royal Navy oil refinery in Old Kilpatrick which was decimated in the 1941 Blitz has been bought by a developer.

The Malin Group has recently taken ownership of the large brownfield site on the banks of the river Clyde to support their long-term goal of bringing “more high value marine design and build projects” back to the riverside.

The former Carless oil depot, which carried out oil refinery works from its inception in 1918 until 1992, extends to 47 acres and is located upriver of the Erskine Bridge on the north bank of the river.

But its new owners plan to breathe new life into the site with the creation of a marine technology hub which will bring together “providers of research, skills development, design, manufacturing and practical marine operational and logistics experience in a location that has complimentary facilities backed by direct access to the deep water channel of the river Clyde”.

John MacSween, managing director of Malin Group, said: “The heritage of the Clyde is something we should be rightly proud of.

“We ourselves have been working on the river in the shipping industry for over 100 years. But there is a need to be looking to the future as well, to ensure the long term success of the Clyde as a maritime centre of excellence.

“What we are hoping to achieve at our Carless site is to compliment these activities and bring other clients, companies and interests to the region.

“Our local harbour authority is doing excellent work in keeping our river open and navigable. We should be doing all we can to support them by attracting more marine business to the area.”

The firm praised the likes of BAE Systems and Ferguson Marine in the shipbuilding sector as examples of “great work” already being carried out on the banks of the river, and hoped they too could contribute to its success – but they know it won’t be easy to get it off the ground.

Due to Carless’s industrial heritage the land requires “considerable remediation” before it can be put to use, but the group believes it’s better to return it to an industrial site than putting it to housing or commercial use.

Mr MacSween added: “To exploit our positive heritage, we must address the negative. Simply leaving it until the economics stacked up for a housing development would have been a shame and, we feel, a real missed opportunity.

“We are delighted to have Scottish Enterprise as a partner in pushing this venture forward and excited about the possible impact it could have both on this part of the Clyde, and Scotland as a whole.”

Adrian Gillespie, managing director of Scottish Enterprise, added: “We are delighted to hear about Malin’s ambitious and visionary plans to revitalise the former Carless Oil Refinery site in West Dunbartonshire. We look forward to working with the company to support their plans.”

For more, visit malingroup.com/carless.