Communities in Renfrewshire with fresh ideas on how to improve infrastructure in their area are being urged to help decide how cash from a new fund should be spent.

Councillors have rubber-stamped a plan for the launch of the Infrastructure and Assets Community Investment Fund, which will ask residents to come up with “innovative and imaginative” ideas for improvements in their town or village.

Over three phases, with the first set to launch in May, people will submit suggestions to form an initial list of potential projects before being asked to vote on which they would like to see go ahead from a shortlist created by council officers.

Work will then begin on successful projects from the end of this year.

Now the plan has been signed off, residents are being asked to look around their area and start thinking about anything that needs a makeover.

Councillor Cathy McEwan, convener of Renfrewshire’s infrastructure board, said: “This is an extremely positive initiative and could have real benefit to many of our communities.

“To ensure all areas benefit from this investment, we will bring forward proposals for every area of Renfrewshire, so I would encourage all residents to get involved with this.

“Many of us have spent more time in our local areas over the last year than ever before, due to the pandemic, so I’m sure communities will have some good ideas.”

It will be the first participatory budgeting initiative of its kind launched in Renfrewshire and bosses plan to set £1.2million aside for it.

When officers consider proposals, they will be looking for ideas that have wide community benefits and, ideally, cost between £5,000 and £50,000.

Councillor Natalie Don, depute convener of the infrastructure board, said: “I am thrilled to see the launch of this fund. I am a big advocate of participatory budgeting and giving local communities more power and involvement in what goes on in their area.

“I really want to encourage residents to think outside the box when it comes to ideas for this programme. This is a chance to make real change in your area – things that could make a real difference that might never have been thought of by a council officer.

“Projects that benefit large portions of the community will be prioritised, so let’s try to be as innovative as possible.”