THE last potential hurdle to a new bridge linking Renfrew and Clydebank has been removed.

Members of West Dunbartonshire Council’s infrastructure, regeneration and economic development (IRED) committee have voted unanimously to formally drop their objections to the project by Renfrewshire Council.

Planning chiefs in West Dunbartonshire had previously voted against the bridge, citing concerns over the impact it could have on traffic and retailers on that side of the River Clyde.

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However, the plans have been approved by the Scottish Government and any delay to the project was forecast to cost Renfrewshire Council £180,000 a month.

West Dunbartonshire Council admitted that, if it had maintained a formal objection, the £90million bridge proposals could have gone to a public inquiry, leaving the local authority facing a hefty legal bill.

Councillor Jonathan McColl, leader of West Dunbartonshire Council, said it would be “counterproductive” to maintain an objection.

He added: “I think Scottish Government planners have, not for the first time, made a huge mistake and it could be very harmful for us.

“But, as a council, we will have to face the challenges and I’m sure we will make our case to the Scottish Government for support if and when we need it, especially as they created this problem for us.”

The new bridge is one of a number of projects included in the £1billion Glasgow City Deal programme and is expected to improve access to employment, education, health and leisure for communities on both sides of the river.

It is the centrepiece of a redevelopment of the Clyde waterfront and Renfrew riverside that also includes connecting roads, cycle routes and pedestrian walkways.

The aim is to improve access to work, education and hospitals by reforming infrastructure.

The bridge would span three council areas, from Renfrewshire on the southside to the boundary between Yoker in Glasgow and Clydebank in West Dunbartonshire.
Supporters believe it could plough £867m into the local economy.

However, only West Dunbartonshire’s planning and IRED committees have ever held public votes on the proposals.

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Councillors at the other authorities have never had to make decisions for or against the bridge.

Renfrewshire Council has said it will work closely with all partners to ensure the project “delivers on its significant potential and the benefits reach all communities on both sides of the Clyde.”