FRESH plans for a transport link between Paisley and Glasgow Airport have been welcomed by business bosses and community leaders. 

An agreement on funding for the long-awaited link that will go from Paisley Gilmour Street train station to the airport terminal has been reached by Renfrewshire Council and Glasgow City Council as part of proposals for a city-wide ‘Metro tram network.’

A feasibility study is also to be carried out to extend the link eastwards to Glasgow via the new National Manufacturing Institute, Renfrew town centre, Braehead and the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, before crossing the River Clyde.

READ MORE: Metro plans move forward with airport to be first link

Councillors in both Renfrewshire and Glasgow will now be asked to approve the massive public transport project, with the link between the airport and Paisley being the first phase.

Exact dates for these votes have not been confirmed but they are expected soon.

Lindsay MacKillop, secretary of Renfrew Community Council, said the airport link could “only be a good thing” for the town.

She told The Gazette: “At the moment, if we want to get to the airport we’ve got to get on two buses and change operators.

“The way forward is better links and infrastructure and Renfrew definitely needs a rail link.

“It would open up a lot more opportunities and give people better links to the world.”

The Gazette: Lindsay McKillop pictured with fellow community councillor Harry Birrell Lindsay McKillop pictured with fellow community councillor Harry Birrell

Bob Grant, chief executive of Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, said the project would boost businesses in the Paisley area.

He added: “The Chamber has been a long-term supporter of improving surface access for Glasgow Airport and the opportunity for a Metro link from Paisley Gilmour Street that in future can be expanded to connect the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District at Inchinnan, Renfrew and beyond will encourage economic growth.”

It is hoped the Metro plan will finally provide a solution to the lack of an alternative to the M8 motorway for accessing the airport.

Over the past decade and more, various proposals for some kind of rail link have been made.

The £120million Glasgow Airport Rail Link project was scrapped in 2009 when the Scottish Government reduced its budget amid UK-wide austerity cuts.

The plans were resurrected years later when Glasgow and Renfrewshire councils proposed two options – a tram-train line and a new light rail system, both running via Paisley.

READ MORE: Glasgow Airport rail link to be ditched for rapid shuttle pod to Paisley

The tram-train proposal, involving a specially-designed hybrid mode of transport using the existing railway network and on-street tracks, was chosen as the preferred option in November 2016.

Construction was due to begin in 2022, with the line operational by 2025, but a report into the proposal raised significant concerns about its viability.

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