SCOTTISH Government ministers are set to have the final say on plans to build a new crossing over the River Clyde at Renfrew after a request from Renfrewshire Council, it has been revealed.

As of last Friday, major decisions surrounding the multi-million pound proposal for the only opening road bridge across the river – linking Renfrew with Yoker and Clydebank – will now be in the hands of Holyrood chiefs rather than Renfrewshire, West Dunbartonshire, and Glasgow City councils.

It is hoped the bridge, part of the Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project, will strengthen links between communities and businesses in each area.

Buses, cars, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to cross the bridge, which will also “open” to allow ships to sail up and down the river.

Renfrewshire Council leader Iain Nicolson said it is vital power is in the government’s hands to ensure simplicity in the decision-making process.

He told the Gazette: “It’s right the Scottish Government determine the application for the Glasgow City Region City Deal Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project following a request made by Renfrewshire Council in agreement with Glasgow and West Dunbartonshire.

“This is a unique infrastructure project which straddles across three local authorities and it helps simplify the process.

“The project has the potential for significant economic regeneration across the City Region with increased potential for jobs and improved connections to opportunities for local communities and as such, this method of determination is the most effective approach.”

A reporter appointed by the Scottish Government will outline the determination timetable and process to determine the planning applications.

If approved, work is expected to start on site next year with construction being completed in 2020.

The project will also include a 750-metre Renfrew North Development Road to link Meadowside Street to the A8 at Argyll Avenue, in Renfrew, and new cycle lanes and connections to existing cycleways and active travel paths, connecting from the town’s Inchinnan Road through to Yoker railway station.

It will also include new bridge approach roads providing access to the crossing from existing roads.

Renfrewshire Council said this will attract £282m in private investment, deliver 1,690 new homes and bring 83 hectares of land back into use.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scottish Ministers have called in three planning applications relating to the Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside Project.

“This was done at the request of the head of planning at Renfrewshire Council, supported by the heads of planning at both Glasgow City and West Dunbartonshire Council and because the project is a core component of the Glasgow City Region Deal which will provide significant employment and economic development opportunities.

“The cases have now been passed to the planning and environmental appeals division of the Scottish Government, and an independent reporter will be appointed once all the relevant documentation has been forwarded by the respective councils.

“The reporter will then consider the proposed developments and report to Scottish Ministers who will make the final decision on the applications.”