COUNCILLORS have welcomed shipbuilding back to Clydebank as a committee approved plans for the banks of the River Clyde.

Malin Group Properties Ltd lodged proposals with West Dunbartonshire Council for a fabrication building, yard, ancillary office structure and various staff accommodation facilities at the site of the former Carless Oil Terminal on Erskine Ferry Road in Old Kilpatrick.

Last week, at a meeting of the planning committee, representatives voted unanimously to allow the site, which would house a major marine engineering operation, to move forward.

A report submitted to the committee claimed nearly 200 jobs would be created in the local area - 119 through construction and 78 when it is fully operational.

Councillors on the committee were resounding in their support for the project.

Committee chairwoman Diane Docherty said: “It’s good to see shipbuilding back on the Clyde.”

Labour Councillor Lawrence O’Neill told the meeting: “I very much welcome this development to the area. It will bring a number of benefits to the local area.”

Clydebank Councillor Marie McNair said: “Not only will this proposal bring a derelict and contaminated site back into use, but it will bring much needed employment to the area.”

Due to its former use as an oil refinery before its closure in 1992, parts of the site were previously contaminated with hydrocarbons.

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The report notes these initial plans as the first phase in a project which is hoped to create a “marine technology park” on the site, which would “lead to further employment and labour opportunities” in the area.

Bailie Denis Agnew also threw his support behind the proposals, but asked if some mature trees could be planted to “break up” the view of the 43m high building from the River Clyde.

He said: “Of course, I’m very much behind what’s been said already, in terms of the proposal.

“Would there be any scope for mature tree planting to break up the line of it?

“The design proposed has been very good, but I think breaking it up with trees would be quite aesthetically pleasing.”

Representatives of Malin, who attended the meeting reassured councillors that the majority of the tree line between the site and the Clyde would remain intact, and they agreed to consider Baillie Agnew’s point about the planting of mature trees.

Councillor O’Neill also praised Malin for taking on board improvements proposed by the design and place panel, following a meeting with the independent body in November.

The site was paramount to the war effort in both the first and second World Wars, acting as a fuel store for the Royal Navy and the Admiralty.

It has been left vacant since the end of operations at the Carless Oil Terminal in 1992.

No objections were lodged to the plans, but letters of support were sent to the council by the Clyde Docks Preservation Initiative (CDPI).

The initiative welcomed the employment opportunities the new site could bring to the area, as well as the return of shipbuilding to Clydebank.