By Kristy Dorsey

Work is set to begin in the first quarter of next year on what has been described as the riskiest financial element in plans to build a marine technology hub that is expected to create nearly 1,000 jobs by the side of the Clyde.

Malin Group managing director John MacSween said the announcement earlier this week of nearly £2 million of public funding will allow quayside development to begin at the Old Kilpatrick site that will be the home for the new 47-acre Scottish Marine Technology Park (SMTP). The £1.98m from the Scottish Government’s Clyde Mission initiative to West Dunbartonshire Council will cover about half the cost of the initial phase of quayside works, and is expected to unlock further funding early in the new year.

The initial development phase covering approximately nine acres will create infrastructure to allow future occupants of the park to easily ship out manufactured goods by sea. Mr MacSween said the ability to get started with piling works “massively de-risks” the entire project, and marks the first “tangible piece of support” for the plans.

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“We are delighted with the support the park has received in this latest step,” he said. “We are excited about the potential that the Marine Technology Park offers Scotland’s marine industry, as well as for local residents and the wider economy.

“Once complete, the SMTP will offer new roles to previously unimagined local residents, whilst also attracting new organisations and sustainable green work to the Clyde to create a thriving, inclusive and progressive working community.”

Once complete, the SMTP will include several large fabrication facilities, room for a large number of smaller suppliers and a deep-water jetty with a 1,100 tonne ship hoist, the largest of its kind in Europe. Due to be completed in 2024, it is envisaged as a centre of excellence for marine engineering and complex marine manufacturing.

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The Government funding was announced on Monday as part of an £11m package of capital grants awarded to 12 projects that will create jobs and benefit communities along the River Clyde. It is part of the economic stimulus to support economic recovery from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Owned by Mr MacSween and his two fellow directors, the Malin Group of marine engineering businesses acquired the site of the former Carless oil storage facility at Old Kilpatrick in 2017.