PLANS to build a major film studio in Lanarkshire have been branded "hard to comprehend", as civic and business leaders attack the Scottish Government over the move.

With expectation mounting Cumbernauld is on the cusp of being confirmed the site for the new studio, the leader of the country's biggest council has attacked arts minister Fiona Hyslop for not locating the facility in Glasgow.

Gordon Matheson, backed up by Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief Stuart Patrick and Film City Glasgow director Tiernan Kelly, have written to Ms Hyslop, accusing her of a "flawed decision compounded by discourtesy".

The trio have claimed the city's existing infrastructure for film and television production as well as its track record best place it for any studio, as well as hitting out at the ongoing speculation Cumbernauld.

But the Scottish Government said its hands were tied and it was unable to pursue a new-build studio in Glasgow or anywhere else seeking 100 per cent public sector support because of European Commission State Aid rules.

The Herald recently revealed Glasgow had been formally rejected by Scottish Enterprise to deliver a facility for the country, with industry and local authority sources joining voices claiming the studios in Cumbernauld used by the Outlander TV series have been selected.

Scottish Enterprise could only confirm it was still in negotiations with a private backer for the studio without revealing location or the level of public finance to be committed.

The agency added that after initial assessment of the bid they were convinced it exceeded original briefs for the facility and that there were no issues of state aid.

An announcement is expected within four to six weeks.

But in the letter to Ms Hyslop, Mr Matheson has continued to make the case for Glasgow, claiming its track record in film and television production "demonstrates that it is eminently well placed to immediately deliver the standard of service that production companies demand".

The letter adds: "Given the ferocity of competition in this industry, it makes sense to utilise existing infrastructure and connections to establish a world class facility as soon as possible.

"Given Glasgow's wealth of talent, our skilled workforce, accessibility and a creative cluster that offers the range of facilities and services not found elsewhere in Scotland it is hard to comprehend why this vital new facility would be located some 15 miles away."

It adds that Glasgow regularly attracts more than half of all the film and television activity in Scotland, has successfully attracted and hosted Hollywood blockbusters, lower budget independent films, and national television shows, while the council's Film Office has attracted over £80million of production in the past four years.

It concludes: "Finally, we would like to put on record our displeasure that it seems to be common knowledge that the facility will be located in Cumbernauld, while no attempt has been made to liaise with Glasgow City Council or our industry partners. It seems this flawed decision is to be compounded by discourtesy."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We are considering a new proposal that has been received by Scottish Enterprise on behalf of the FSDG from a private sector developer to provide studio infrastructure. We remain committed to developing suitable studio facilities in Scotland that fall within State Aid rules."